Nova Scotia RCMP have confirmed that a report of a man missing in the woods along Beaver Bank Road, near Lower Sackville, was a hoax.
A 39-year-old man, whose name has not yet been released, faces charges of public mischief.
The man reported that he and another man were in an off-road vehicle crash on Monday morning. The man claimed Gregory Francis Yhard, of Wellington was missing and possibly injured in the woods.
That prompted ground search and rescue crews to bring in a helicopter and begin a search for 36-year-old Yhard on Monday morning.
RCMP Cpl. Scott MacRae said Monday afternoon there was never a man missing in the woods. After investigating, RCMP determined that Yhard wasn't even in the province.
Tony Rodgers, a volunteer with Halifax Ground Search and Rescue, said volunteers were relieved no one was actually missing.
"Well I'm glad there's nobody hurt — that's the first thing — a little disappointed that we went through this rigmarole. There are a lot of people who are going to lose a day's pay because they were out here volunteering to help," said Rodgers.
"He was apologetic but he didn't give much of an explanation."
Shortly before 2:30 p.m., officers brought the 39-year-old man to the search and rescue command centre on Knowles Crescent in handcuffs. The man was in the command centre for about five minutes before he was taken away.
MacRae said the man could be held financially responsible for rescue operation.
"This is a big cost — in people hours and in dollars — he'll have to be held accountable."
Man claimed off-road vehicle accident
Police originally said the 39-year-old man approached a house on the 2,500 block of Beaver Bank Road and said he had been injured in an off-road vehicle crash.
He claimed he had made it out of the woods at around 7:45 a.m. and was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
"He was incoherent so it was hard to get all the information out but due to the temperatures, weather conditions, we're commencing a search," MacRae said earlier on Monday.
The 39-year-old man reported he had been walking for about an hour and said his injured passenger may still be in woods.