By Eric Elliott, Pioneer Staff
A familys worst nightmare was put to rest after their two-year-old missing son was found Sunday morning near Premier Lake Provincial Campground.
The boy, Isaac Leuenberger, first went missing Saturday evening around 7 p.m. while on a walk with his mother and two siblings through the campground. After searching for 45 minutes to find Isaac, the family decided to contact the police.
Columbia Valley Search and Rescue arrived on the scene around 9 p.m., searching with other Search and Rescue teams from Kimberley, Cranbrook, Fernie and Elkford as teams from Castlegar and Nelson were still arriving when Isaac was found at noon Sunday morning.
Kimberley Search and Rescue member Peter Reid says that it can be emotionally difficult when you hear of a lost child, but there is reason for optimism if they can be found in the first 24 hours.
The survival rate for a young child is quite high 95 per cent if you find them within 24 hours. But adding difficulty to that is that even two year olds can travel quite a distance, he said.
Tammy Stehr, a member of the Columbia Valley Search and Rescue on the scene, says that they initially expected to find Isaac within a kilometre of his last known location, which was just within the campground. The team searched through the wooded areas near the campground, keeping an arms length distance between one another in efforts to not miss Isaac in the densely wooded area.
After widening the search beyond the initial one-kilometre radius, Isaac was found near Yankee Lake, three kilometres from the campground, by one of the volunteers searching for the family.
I wasnt actually there when he as found, Mr. Reid said. Wendy (Heatherington, Kimberley Search and Rescue, Search Manager) and myself were out all night and had come back down to get some sleep, so we werent there. You always hate to leave a search for that reason, but we are just so relieved and happy.
Although Search and Rescue teams are always searching desperately to find their subjects, Ms. Stehr says its especially important when its a small child because of the emotional aspect associated with it.
Everyone is elated when we are able to find a small child and bring them back to their parents, she says. Everyone thinks of their own children or grandchildren when this happens and you really want to have that positive outcome for sure.
Cpl. Chris Newel of the Kimberley RCMP told media that other than a few scratches, the boy was in condition when he returned to his family.
–With files from Kimberley Daily Bulletin–