Canadian rescuers make voice contact with ex-Hongkonger missing on hike in Vancouver
Avid outdoorsman and his friend thought to be somewhere on Cypress Mountain since Christmas night
Rescuers in Canada said they made voice contact with a former Hong Kong resident and his friend after they went missing for two days on snow-covered Cypress Mountain in Vancouver, but the search was called off for the night due to weather and darkness.
More than 20 volunteers had already spent all day Monday and Tuesday searching for Roy Lee Tin-hou, 43, and Lam Chun-sek, 64.
— Police Dog Ranger (@PoliceK9Ranger) December 26, 2016
The rescue mission swung into action after a vehicle owned by Lee, an immigrant from Hong Kong residing in Vancouver, was found in a Cypress Mountain parking lot on Christmas night, Canadian media reported. Lam’s nationality has not been reported.
The rescue team established voice contact with someone located on the northeast side of Mount Strachan at around 1.30pm Tuesday local time.
However, officials were not certain if it was Lam or Lee, and said they were unable to make further contact before calling off their search before 5pm local time as darkness came.
Mike Danks, a spokesman for the rescue team, told CBC news the mission would resume “at first light” on Wednesday morning. He added the team would discuss the areas they would likely look next.
“The fact that they’re together, there’s two of them, that’s a positive thing,” he said. “They can keep each other warm. They can keep each other positive.
“Our hopes are that they’ve made themselves a little bit of shelter and they’re just keeping warm.”
Lee’s sister Carol Lee told Canadian media outlet am1470 that the entire family was now in Hong Kong and did not know beforehand of the pair’s hike.
She said her brother often joined hikes with social service group Sowers Action in Canada, and hoped they would know his hiking route.
Canadian media have described Lee as an avid and experienced hiker who was thought to have headed out on the mountain with Lam.
The searchers believed the two were not equipped for an overnight trip, as temperatures in the area could drop to minus 11 degrees Celsius at night.
West Vancouver Police said the mission was complicated by heavy snow and that a critically high avalanche risk made it too hazardous for ground crews at night.
They urged anyone with information that could help locate the men to contact the police.