Credit to Author: Denise Ryan| Date: Mon, 19 Aug 2019 04:12:54 +0000
A four-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie, B.C., has been found “safe and sound” after spending a night in the wild.
Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, media spokeswoman for the RCMP’s North District, told Postmedia News that George Hazard-Benoit was spotted early Sunday evening by an RCMP aircraft. The aircraft, which had not been involved in the search earlier in the day due to weather, then alerted an RCMP dog handler on the ground and the boy was located by the tracker dog.
“He has been found safe and sound and been reunited with his mom,” said Saunderson. It was wet in the region overnight and temperatures dipped to single-digits Celsius. The boy was taken to hospital for a medical examination.
Hazard-Benoit was sleeping in a van on Saturday while on an outing with his mother and her friend, who were picking berries at Lions Lake, 170 kilometres north of Prince George.
According to search and rescue crews, when his mother returned to the van, which was 10 metres away from where they were harvesting berries, the boy was gone. That was at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
His father, Kristopher Benoit, who is separated from the child’s mother and has primary custody, said he was notified at 4 p.m. that his son was missing in the bush.
At 11 p.m. Saturday he got news that raised a spark of hope. A child’s boot print had been found not far from where George went missing.
Benoit describes himself as a “typical helicopter parent,” who is, if anything, overprotective of little George.
George saw his mother, Tykeo Hazard, every weekend and the former couple were in the process of formalizing a custody arrangement when he went missing, said Benoit.
Benoit said the four-year-old is bright, with piercing blue eyes and a shy demeanour, and likes to stay close to whoever he is with. “He’s not one to run away,” said Benoit.
Saunderson said she was not sure how close Hazard-Benoit was to the van when he was found.
Benoit said he was too overwhelmed by his emotions to join the search party but his partner was out for hours with other volunteers and family members Saturday.
Benoit said George’s special Paw Patrol blanket was waiting for him at home. “He loves that blanket.”
According to Mackenzie Search and Rescue, more than 100 volunteers along with SAR teams from Prince George and the North Peace region assisted in the search.
The District of Mackenzie had set up a command centre at the Lions Lake campground to support the ground search and emergency personnel.
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