British Columbia

'Pure relief': 4-year-old missing overnight in wilds of northern B.C. found safe

A four-year-old boy who went missing in the bush near Mackenzie, B.C., about 180 kilometres north of Prince George on Saturday has been found safe.

George Hazard-Benoit was found wet and cold, but uninjured

Several search and rescue teams, as well as a hundred volunteers, searched for the child near the northern B.C. community of Mackenzie. He was found on Sunday evening. (Tamara Wiese)

A four-year-old boy who went missing in the bush near Mackenzie, B.C., about 180 kilometres north of Prince George on Saturday has been found safe.

The child, George Hazard-Benoit, had been berry picking with his mother and her friend at Lions Lake, and was napping in the family van 10 metres from the two adults when he disappeared around 12:30 p.m. PT on Saturday.

George Hazard-Benoit is shown in this undated photo from B.C. Missing Report before he was located on Sunday evening. (B.C. Missing Report)

He was found just before 8 p.m. on Sunday, wet and cold but otherwise uninjured.

He was transported by ambulance to hospital for a medical checkup.

Several teams, including ones from Prince George and Mackenzie, scoured the heavily wooded area by the lake all day Sunday. 

Conservation officers and RCMP aircraft also helped in the search, which was hindered by heavy rain overnight and into Sunday.

'Everyone was cheering'

Tamara Wiese was among the family friends who spent the day searching for the young boy.

"He's safe, he's safe, he's safe," she said, tearing up over the phone minutes after he'd been found and whisked away to hospital.

Wiese said he was found near a lake in the hour that the rain briefly let up.

She said the mood at the command post was "relief, pure relief."

"We clapped, we watched the ambulance leave, everyone was cheering for them," she said.

Wiese said she's not yet sure who exactly found George, but thanked everyone who helped spread the word, speaking over the din of volunteers cheering as they cleared up the makeshift camp.

"Thank you again so much everybody, all the prayers and love was felt and it's a great ending to a terrible situation," she said.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said the boy was with his parents before going missing on Saturday. In fact, the boy was with his mother and her friend.
    Aug 18, 2019 7:48 PM PT

now