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Darkness ends search; efforts will resume Thursday morning

The ongoing search for 19-year-old Castlegar resident Zach Larsen was called off at roughly 9 p.m. Wednesday due to darkness, but crews will be back and looking again bright and early Thursday morning, which will be Day Five of the search.

Volunteers will again be needed to assist with the in-city ground search, which will focus on the areas South and West of the Castlegar Complex. This, while two RCMP canine units comb the hilly area West of town, a boat runs patrols up and down the river and, hopefully, helicopters will again search from the sky. Trained Search and Rescue (SAR)  members will also be searching the more rugged areas not approriate for civilian volunteers. 

Volunteers are once again asked to dress appropriately for the weather and a lot of outdoor walking, and to come prepared with water and a snack or lunch.

Searchers will meet at the SAR command post in Millennium Park, where they'll be assigned to teams, each of which includes a trained SAR member, and will be directed where to search.

Today (Wednesday) saw roughly 100 resident volunteers, along with SAR members from as many as six other communities, not to mention an RCMP task force, knocking on doors and systematically searching the city. Boats, helicopters and trained dogs also assisted in the search.

Gord Ihlen, with Castlegar SAR, said there were no new clues uncovered during today's search efforts.

He said the community turn-out, though, was heartening, and offered deep thanks to Dairy Queen and Canadian 2-for-1 Pizza for donating hot food for the civilian volunteers.

He also said the RCMP are unsung heros in scenarios like this one, following up on citizen phone calls and running down leads .

"They really are going above and beyond ..." he said, adding at least one RCMP member has put in full work shifts with the task force, then come back on personal time to search some more.

It's worth noting, as well, that while the searchers get some much-needed rest tonight, RCMP members at the detachment will continue to work throughout the night on the investigation, which may ease the minds of many who left Millennium Park tonight feeling discouraged.

Finally, The Source would like to once again remind residents to please refrain from posting or otherwise disseminating information without first checking their facts with the Castlegar RCMP detachment (250-365-7721).

Rumours and posts have been getting back to the family and causing pointless heartache, so local police have encouraged residents who have questions or think they have new information, to please call and let the RCMP verify whether the information is correct.