Police and search officials remain stumped about the whereabouts of a Surrey man missing from Kokanee Creek Provincial Park for nearly a week.
Paul Tayes, 56, who was camping at the park (pictured below), was last seen Tuesday night by campsite attendants when he paid for his site.
Tayes, who was making his way from Cranbrook, planned to spend only one night and then travel to Summit Lake. However, attendants noticed his belongings were still at the campsite two days later and alerted authorities. He left his vehicle, trailer, and boat behind.
The ground search, which focused on the park, but covered an area as far as a person could travel in two days, was helped when 145 search and rescue members from East Kootenay and the Okanagan arrived for an annual inter-regional training exercise at the park.
“We had three or four times the bodies we would typically have,” Nelson Search and Rescue’s Chris Armstrong said today. “We took two of our workshops, freeing up 20 to 30 people per hour over the whole day and had those people actively searching.”
No trace of Tayes was found.
Yesterday searchers returned with RCMP to an area of “high potential” where bears were known to be living, but without success.
Armstrong said following a strategy session with police today, they planned to try again this afternoon “and cover off the last possible places where he could be in the park, but outside of that we’re grasping at straws.”
He said if any leads result, the search may yet continue, however, “we have dug up every bear den, looked into everything, and all the properties have been searched.”
Armstrong said they would examine maintenance yards, rooftops, and ditches along the highway, but they believe it is “not a high probability” that he entered Kootenay Lake, as he was not a swimmer, and it requires walking about 200m from shore to reach deep water.