MISSING PERSONS

‘No sign at all’ in search for ex-Hongkonger missing from hike in Vancouver

Former Hong Kong resident and his friend have been missing on Cypress Mountain since Christmas Day

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 1:52pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 2:24pm

A former Hong Kong resident and his friend have been missing on Vancouver’s Cypress Mountain since Christmas Day, with search efforts on Wednesday yielding little success.

Previous voice contact with a hiker, thought to be one of the missing men, turned out to unrelated, emergency personnel said.

A search crew of around 25 volunteers from North Shore Rescue (NSR) have so far found “no sign at all” of ex-Hongkonger Roy Lee Tin-hou, 43, and his friend Lam Chun-sek, 64.

While the team made contact with someone from the mountain on Tuesday, NSR spokesman Mike Danks said they now believed it was a separate out-of-bounds skier.

Search operations for the two hikers were temporarily suspended on Wednesday over dangerous weather conditions from snow, high winds, and an avalanche risk.

The duo was last seen on the mountain’s Strachan Meadow at around 11am on Christmas Day.

Lee’s older sister Carol told Canadian media outlet am1470 that their family did not previously know about the hike, and that her brother hikes often with the social service group Sowers Action in Vancouver.

A member of the group, Ming Sir, told the Post that Lee hikes frequently, hitting the trails of Cypress Mountain as often as once a week.

He described the NSR team as the go-to rescue source in the area with first-class equipment, but said “it really depends on the weather tomorrow”.

Search manager Jeff Yarnolds said there was still a possibility that the men are alive, despite difficult rescue efforts amid more than 33 cms of snow over the past 24 hours, local media said.

While the search will continue, Danks said operations may be scaled down in light of worsening weather conditions.

“Unfortunately, the weather has really deteriorated today,” he told local media outlet North Shore News. “It’s almost like a blizzard up there right now.”

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Wednesday had been a critical day for search efforts, with Danks saying: “The reality is, we want to find these guys really badly.”

During rescue efforts on Wednesday morning, a helicopter’s infrared camera picked up four other out-of-bounds snowboarders.

West Vancouver Police have asked anyone with information that could help locate the duo to contact them at 604-925-7300.