Nfld. & Labrador

Darkness interrupts search for N.L. man who went missing in historic blizzard

A 26-year-old man from Conception Bay North who has what his family describes as "health issues" went missing as a blizzard was ramping up Friday in eastern Newfoundland.

Josh Wall thought to be in the woods somewhere between Roaches Line and Marysvale in Conception Bay North

Conception Bay North resident Josh Wall, 26, went missing in a raging Newfoundland blizzard. He left his Roaches Line home to walk to a friend's house at 12:30 p.m. NT on Friday and has not been heard from since. (Submitted)

A ground search for a Roaches Line man who went missing during the height of a historic winter blizzard in Newfoundland has been halted due to darkness.

However, the RCMP says the search for 26-year-old Josh Wall will resume on Sunday.

"Joshua has not been found," an RCMP spokesperson told CBC News Saturday evening, adding that a military helicopter from 103 Search and Rescue Squadron in Gander planned to make "one more pass this evening."

Members of the Avalon North Wolverines search team mobilized in the face of severe snow conditions Saturday morning in a desperate attempt to find Wall, who hasn't been heard from since 1 p.m. NT on Friday, just as the storm was starting to reach its peak.

"My heart is breaking. I just hope he's OK. I feel so helpless," Nora Wall, Josh's mother, told CBC News Saturday afternoon.

"He's a very strong young man. A big boy with some health issues," Josh's father, Wayne, said Friday night.

Josh Wall went into the woods around 12:30 p.m. NT on Friday, with plans to walk along a backcountry trail from his home family home on Roaches Line to visit a friend in another Conception Bay community, Marysvale.

His parents said Josh has "health issues," is prone to panic attacks and is not familiar with the wilderness area he entered.

He messaged his location in the wilderness to his friend in Marysvale around 1 p.m. on Friday, his father said, along with a message saying he was lost and that his phone's battery was low on power.

"I'm asking people to go to the end of your backyard, look and call out his name. Check behind your homes. Check for footprints," an emotional Nora Wall said.

Bay Roberts RCMP and the Avalon North Wolverines Search and Rescue mobilized on Saturday, using an Argo amphibious vehicle and snowmobiles, according to an RCMP statement.

"Search efforts were attempted yesterday but were hampered by severe weather conditions," the statement said.

Wayne Wall said his son was in pain Friday morning and wanted to go to the hospital, but the storm prevented them from travelling.

Josh Wall later told his parents he was going to visit a friend in Marysvale, and decided to leave on foot.

He has not been heard from since, and time is no longer on his side.

Josh Wall was wearing a heavy winter jacket and a warm hat, mittens and boots. But it's not believed he was wearing snow pants.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terry Roberts is a reporter with CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, and is based in St. John’s. He previously worked for The Telegram, The Compass and The Northern Pen newspapers during a career that began in 1991. He can be reached by email at: Terry.Roberts@cbc.ca.

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