Missing Manitoba senior a frequent hiker

Spirits remained high Sunday that a Manitoba senior declared missing by RCMP this weekend would be found safe and sound.

Hopes remained high Sunday that a Manitoba senior declared missing by RCMP on the weekend would be found safe and sound.

Joseph Kuz, 86, has hiked the woods near Hadashville each year for at least the last decade, his nephew, Myron Lamaga, said in an interview with CBC News.

Kuz was out Thursday on his annual hike to Lamaga's cabin, located about 100 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg, but has failed to turn up. Police declared him missing soon after.

Lamaga said the terrain in the area is challenging, and he's worried that Kuz may have become disoriented.

"Olympic athletes would have trouble trudging through there," he said. "Like, you got the search and rescue people here and they're all young and in good shape and it's a hard walk for them."

A rescue team on the ground has been joined by an air search crew.

A friend took Kuz to an area near the cabin on Thursday, but Lamaga said he feared he was dropped off at the wrong spot and the elderly man got lost. He did have an axe, marking tape and matches with him, Lemage said.

"Between the axe and the tape, we should be able to follow him, but there's no sign — it's as if he's vanished."

'Bar-room brawler'

Lamaga described Kuz as a larger man who lived a predictable lifestyle. He lives in Winnipeg at a home for seniors but still eats some of his meals at a Main Street hotel.

"He kind of frequented the Main Street bars," Lamaga said. "He was an old-time bar-room brawler," he added with a chuckle.

Despite his uncle's rugged constitution, Lamaga admitted being concerned about his welfare.  

"You're in a warm bed and there's Uncle Joe and you don't know if he's face down in the water or if he's huddled under a cedar," he said.

Kuz is six feet tall and weighs 200 pounds. Police say he may have been wearing grey pants and a grey shirt, along with a dark-coloured raincoat and a red ball cap.