A man last seen leaving his residence in a pickup at the Tl’etinqox First Nation west of Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 4 was located Wednesday by a well-known mountain racer.
Randolph (Randy) Hiebert was found on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 7) by Darren Sulin on Sisters Mountain following extensive search efforts by concerned Tl’etinqox members, Tsilhqot’in National Government, Alexis Creek RCMP, B.C. Conservation Officer Service and search and rescue teams from Tatla Lake, Williams Lake and Quesnel.
“Just thrilled, absolutely thrilled,” said Tl’etinqox Health Services director Mitch Verde, who had sent nurses Abraham Enuma and Shab Gill to assist Tuesday and Wednesday with the search.
“Emotionally it was taking a toll on everyone, so for it to come to a really positive conclusion it was a jubilous moment both at the health centre and over at the band office.”
Efforts were launched by air and ground to find Hiebert as concerns for his well being grew.
RCMP said he suffers from dementia and takes medication daily.
It was believed he may have left his home to go grouse hunting with a slingshot.
His empty truck was found Monday.
“At the end of the evening they did find and locate evidence of a fire so we knew that we were on the right track,” Verde said.
After being found by Sulin, Hiebert was brought down the mountain on horseback.
Local nurses checked him before he was transported to Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake as a precaution.
“It definitely looks like he held together pretty good out there,” Verde said, adding Hiebert was covered in soot as the area he was found was impacted by previous wildfires.
Central Cariboo Search and Rescue media spokesperson, Deborah Bortolussi reiterated the importance of wearing bright colors when outdoors and staying put if lost.
“His clothing was pretty much camouflage and he was unseeable from air, so that really hindered us unfortunately for air operations,” Bortolussi said.
“He was able to make fires and thankfully the weather was very mild, but it could have been a very different outcome,” she added.
(This article has been updated to include comment from CCSAR. The day Hiebert’s truck was located was also corrected.)