Search scaled back for Guelph, Ont., man missing in California park
Command centre dismantled, search efforts scaled back after 6 days of searching
Efforts to locate a Guelph, Ont. man missing in Joshua Tree National Park in California have been significantly scaled back, authorities say.
Paul Miller was reported missing after he headed out for a hike Friday morning. A few hours later when he hadn't returned, his wife contacted park rangers.
"You know, we certainly wish that we had more positive news. It's hard to be involved in an event like this for five, six days and not be successful," said George Land, the public information officer for the park. "It means a tremendous weight on a family. Although I don't know them, I can only imagine what they're going through."
The disappearance of Miller, 51, sparked a search involving 90 searchers, six canine teams, and ATVs to patrol the park's borders and a helicopter.
Now, the incident command centre that was set up to look for him has been dismantled.
"The level of operations we've had for the last five days is unsustainable," said Land.
"What happens now is we actually enter into a limited continuous search mode. The search never totally stops for anyone who is believed missing in a national park."
He said they will continue to look for Miller in "areas of high probability" when the park has resources available.
So far, there's been no sign of Miller.
"That's been one of the things that's been really difficult as well. There hasn't been any track evidence of Mr. Miller. There was no scent detection that came in from canine units," he said, adding there were no reports of contact from other hikers in the area that morning. "We did have at least one person that was in during the same time and came out and said they didn't see anybody else on the trail on the way in or out."
Temperatures in the park were forecast to reach 34 Celsius on Wednesday and 37 C on Thursday. Temperatures were expected to rise into the low 40s over the weekend.