Search for missing fisherman 'big area to cover,' say P.E.I. RCMP

P.E.I. Ground Search and Rescue wrapped up its search for the day for missing P.E.I. fisherman Jordan Hicken late Thursday afternoon with no sign of Hicken.

Ground search for missing fisherman Jordan Hicken has wrapped up for the day Thursday

Drones have been a huge benefit to the search says RCMP Staff Sgt. Howard Fitzpatrick. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

P.E.I. Ground Search and Rescue wrapped up its search for the day for Jordan Hicken late Thursday afternoon with no sign of the missing P.E.I. fisherman.

Hicken went overboard from his fishing boat off Naufrage, on the Island's North Shore, early Tuesday morning.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Howard Fitzpatrick said the police diving team continued into Thursday evening.

Fitzpatrick said search efforts will be scaled back Friday and Saturday with the intention of returning in full force Sunday.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre handed over the task to RCMP Tuesday evening, and it became a missing person case.

The seas were too rough to search on the water Wednesday, but local fishermen were on the water Thursday and participating in the search, including Hicken's father and other family members.

Covering a lot of area

Fitzpatrick said Thursday's search went well with the weather being more co-operative than Wednesday.

Members of P.E.I.'s Ground Search and Rescue searched the North Shore on foot from Savage Harbour to Naufrage Harbour Thursday. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"We've had teams that have covered the whole shoreline as well as through St. Peters Bay." Thursday's search also extended as far west as Savage Harbour. 

Fitzpatrick said the search has been completed in those areas with air support from drones and civilian air search and rescue.

"It's a big area to cover and this incident happened quite a distance offshore which makes it even more difficult. So, we are still looking but as of now we haven't found anything," he said.

Ground Search and Rescue set up a post in the P.E.I. National Park at Greenwich. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The RCMP's dive team began Thursday  by checking the ocean floor using sonar, Fitzpatrick said, but it has been difficult because the bottom is rocky in the area.

The time divers can spend in the water, which is 24 metres or 80 feet deep, is limited. Co-ordinators determined areas that should be searched by talking to local fishermen who know the area, Fitzpatrick said. 

'Doing the best we can'

"Unfortunately it's sort of a needle in a haystack right now — we have a big area to cover and we're doing the best we can," Fitzpatrick said.

Drones have been a huge benefit to the search and rescue, he said.

"The drones that we use have a high-definition video that they can travel the coastline and as well they can get a bird's-eye view of the water."

Fitzpatrick said RCMP has been in regular contact with Hicken's family, who are distraught but appreciative of the effort to find him. 

Hicken went missing from the Plum Crazy while out fishing off Naufrage early Tuesday morning. ( Jordan Steven Lee Hicken/Facebook)

More. P.E.I. news

With files from Stephanie Kelly and Nicole Williams


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