'I wish there was more we could do:' search suspended for missing N.B. man in B.C.
Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue volunteers put in 450 hours looking for Thomas Hines, 26, last seen June 17
A volunteer who helped lead the search for a New Brunswick man missing in British Columbia hopes new information comes to light to either prompt a resumption of the search or help bring some closure to the case.
Alec Tebbutt, a search manager with Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue, says about 45 of his trained volunteers put in an estimated 450 hours looking for Thomas Hines by water, land and air.
Hines, 26, is from Sackville, N.B., but recently moved to Egmont, about 125 kilometres northwest of Vancouver. He was last seen June 17, canoeing alone on Waugh Lake.
He was reported missing to RCMP the following day when his empty canoe was spotted and the search was immediately launched.
For four days, police officers, Tebbutt's team and volunteers from Squamish Search and Rescue scouted the "medium-sized" lake on boats and kayaks. The searchers also combed the shoreline that's surrounded by dense brush with the help of a certified search dog.
The search was suspended last weekend so crews could retrieve some sonar equipment. On Monday and Tuesday, they scoured the estimated 150-foot depths of the lake, and the shoreline again "several times."
"We found possessions of his in the lake and on the shore of the lake, but no indication that he came out of the lake," said Tebbutt.
RCMP have previously said crews recovered Hines's backpack, a shirt floating in the water that they believe was his, as well as a pair of flip-flops.
I'm very sad for him and his friends and the family.- Alec Tebbutt, Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue
Hines was known to enjoy swimming in the lake. Sunshine Coast RCMP Const. Karen Whitby has said search crews suspect he may have drowned.
"We believe he had no life jacket," said Tebbutt.
The search was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday and Hines's family, who live in Nova Scotia, have been notified.
"I'm very sad for him and his friends and the family," said Tebbutt. "I wish there was something more to do, but there really isn't with what we know so far."
If the RCMP gets any new information, it's possible the search could restart, "but there is nothing else to go on at the present time," he said.
If Hines has drowned, Tebbutt said the "hopeful thing" is that his body will surface, providing some closure.
Hines, who went to Tantramar Regional High School and studied at Dalhousie University, had been working as a kitchen assistant at the West Coast Wilderness Lodge for a few weeks before he went missing.