Cowichan Search and Rescue has been temporarily stood down in the search for 70-year-old Colin Court, who disappeared while fishing on Friday, Nov. 15.
Court was last seen by his friends and family the night before, at his own birthday party, and was excited to head out on the water the following morning.
An avid fly fisherman, Court is believed to have set out near Shaw Creek on Lake Cowichan. His overturned kayak was spotted near the shore at the far end of the lake and RCMP said a motorist located his car at Little Shaw Campground, some 15 kilometres west of the community of Youbou.
Search and Rescue groups spent the weekend scouring the area for the man while Court’s family gathered at one of their homes in Youbou and waited for word from authorities.
“As soon as we know anything we’ll let people know,” said Melissa Court, the daughter of the missing man. She declined to comment further, saying there’s very little information to go on at this point.
Bill Court, Colin’s son, has been keeping friends and family updated through Facebook.
On Tuesday, Bill told the Citizen, his family is thankful for the support they’ve received.
“We very much appreciate the support we have in receiving and many thanks to everyone with their selfless actions on the search for him,” he said. “This is been very hard on everyone, not knowing where he could be in the water and the time of year for weather and water temperature being a major contributor to the hard find of locating him.”
With offers of donations coming in, Bill suggests that for those who want to help to donate to SAR so they can help others in need.
“They need all the help they can get for all the volunteers that take part in helping others,” he said. Bill also thanked Country Grocer for supplying food and the RCMP for their compassion.
Bill said family and friends are actively engaged in the search, with boats with depth sounders and drones out on the lake.
Search manager Patty Abbott said 40 SAR volunteers from Cowichan and Ladysmith took part for about 25 hours in total over the weekend, with about 20 members each day searching for Court.
“He’s very well known and very well liked,” Abbott said.
Search and Rescue has since been stood down by the RCMP.
“The RCMP dive team were coming in and they wanted to do their own investigation at that point,” Abbott explained. “We are on standby if things change.”
Abbott said the search has been concentrated on the shoreline and in the water.
Bill said the dive team has been working hard.
“The RCMP diving unit spent the day rotating divers in and out of the water continuously looking for any signs of him but there is very poor conditions and extreme drop-offs,” Bill explained. “They go very deep into the lake which makes it extremely hard for locating him at this time. Today [Tuesday] the RCMP units are reviewing the situation to see what the next step should be, for example possibly bringing in a ROV unit to assist in the search.”