A Nanaimo couple, reported missing Thursday after embarking on a fishing trip, has been found safe and sound, according to officials.
Tamara Sandulak, Cody Martin and their dog Rex, were located at 8:15 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, Nanaimo RCMP said, and were transported by RCMP helicopter to a Nanaimo Search and Rescue staging area south of Nanaimo, where they were reunited with family.
“They were found at Moriarty Lake, which is basically, as the crow flies, 16 kilometres northwest of yesterday’s staging area,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson. “They were at their truck, [which] broke down, so they stayed at the truck. They could hear choppers flying over top, but they just weren’t noticed, but today they realized they had to start walking.”
O’Brien said the couple walked a short distance, where they managed to get cellphone reception and called a family member, who happened to be at the staging area.
“An RCMP helicopter was dispatched to their location and other than being hungry and cold, they were all well, including their dog,” O’Brien said.
The couple told their friends they were heading to the Nanaimo Lakes area to go fishing, but did not return Wednesday and were reported missing on Thursday. Nanaimo Search and Rescue and RCMP launched a search by ground and air around the Second Lake and Echo Lake area on Thursday and resumed the effort on Friday.
O’Brien said the couple did exactly what people in that situation are supposed to do.
“If you’re lost in the woods, you stay put,” said O’Brien. “Dogs and personnel, they want to find something tangible and the truck is tangible. If they start moving from that location, they could be in any given direction. So they did, they used the truck for warmth, but they realized today that they’ve got to go.”
Search-and-rescue groups from across the Island and volunteers assisted with the effort, for which O’Brien said he was grateful. Mosiac Forest Management, which provided map resources and insight into search areas, and Mike Gogo of Mike Gogo Cedar Products, who allowed the staging area to be relocated to his South Forks Road property on Saturday, were also instrumental, said O’Brien.
Upwards of 90 people were slated to assist with search efforts today, according to O’Brien.