Larry Schafer

Larry Schafer

Missing man lucky to be alive

A 73-year-old man who went missing from the Chimney Lake Road area July 11 has been located.

Claudette Schafer is relieved her husband was found after he was missing for almost 36 hours.

Larry Schafer, 73, left his home on Chimney Lake Road near Williams Lake at around 9 a.m. on July 11 and was located around 11:30 p.m. July 12.

On July 11, Larry had gone out on his ATV, hauling a small trailer, to get some gravel from an area about five kilometres from his home.

Around dinner time, Claudette began to worry because her husband hadn’t returned. At 9 p.m. she called the RCMP.

The following evening,  at around 11:30 p.m. Schafer was seen by a motorist on Place Lake Road, around 25 km away from his home.

“The man pulled over and asked him if he was lost,” Claudette says.

The motorist helped Larry into the car and brought him to a friend’s cabin, where they fed him a grilled cheese sandwich and some water.

“A few minutes later the man asked Larry where he lived and then brought him home,” Claudette says. “I’m trying to find out the name of the person who found him and brought him home.”

It was around 12:30 a.m. when Claudette heard somebody drive in toward the house. She wondered if it was her daughter or the RCMP, and expected the worst because the ATV had been located, but her husband had not.

Even the RCMP dog that was brought in on Thursday was not finding any scent.

“I went out with the flashlight and heard somebody fumbling with the gate. I put my light up and it was my husband. I just about dropped. I asked him where the heck he’d come from and he said, ‘in the bush,’” Claudette recalls.

She helped him up the stairs into the house, hugged him and kissed him.

“All the things you don’t do after 25 years of marriage,” she says, with a brave smile.

From what she can gather from Larry, the axle broke on the trailer, so he left the trailer behind and headed out on the ATV.

When the ATV stopped working properly, he set out on foot. Unfortunately he didn’t have any food or water because he’d only planned to be gone for a couple of hours.

Larry wandered, drinking any water he could find, and eating berries off the trees.

It was 32 C that day and at points he stopped and dunked his shirt entirely in swamp water and then placed the wet shirt on his back.

Once it was night time, he lay down to sleep under a fir tree, but the bugs were bad, so he rose and walked, even though it was the middle of the night.

“I knew when I saw his tongue that he had to go straight to the hospital,” Claudette says.

Larry remains in intensive care at Cariboo Memorial Hospital on an IV.

“When my daughter was at the hospital they told her yesterday they didn’t think he would have made it another day out in the bush. His kidneys were starting to shut down,” Claudette says.

The RCMP, Cariboo Search and Rescue, Chimney Lake Volunteer Fire Department, and many citizens searched until nightfall Thursday in efforts to locate Schafer.

On Friday morning the RCMP said it would like to pass on a very sincere thank you to those who took time out of their day to assist.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Reasonable decision making can go a long way

We’re all at fault, but today I’ll pick on politicians

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Be thankful for volunteers

It amazes me just how much people do to make the Cariboo Chilcotin region a better place for all

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Williams Lake Tribune.
FOREST INK: A year to remember for lumber prices

As of March 12, a basic SPF (spruce, pine, fir) two-by-four cost $1,040 per thousand board feet

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)
RANCH MUSINGS: Drier weather good for calving season

My partner and I team up to look for any newborns and note them for later in the day

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read