Five days was all it took for Vancouver police to stop the search for Roy Lee, 43 years old and Chun Lam, 64, two snowshoers who disappeared around Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains on Christmas Day. This is the second high profile missing persons case in the North Shore Mountains to hit Vancouver news since the disappearance of Debbie Blair in late September of this year.
Police Running out of Sources
According to police officers, they officially ran out of safe places they could look for the missing men. The West Vancouver police department also stated that the search will not resume until they get more information.
According to officials, the search has been officially turned into a recovery mission. The reasons for this is that the two missing are now presumed to be dead. The decision has been made between the West Vancouver police department and North Shore rescue on Friday.
However, according to Const. Jeff Palmer, the decision to stop the search and turn it into a recovery mission wasn’t taken lightly. In an official statement, he stated that there was no indication that further searches, which implicates more risks and challenges for rescue teams and volunteers, would bring any significant results.
He also added that a missing person file will remain open on the two men and that the case isn’t closed for the moment.
Lum and Lee set out for their expedition at the Cypress Mountain Resort, in West Vancouver, for a day of snowshoeing on December 25th. What triggered the rescue mission was Lee’s car that was left empty in the resort’s parking lot.
Heavy snow, the threat of avalanches and heavy winds somewhat put a damper on the rescue mission and made work difficult for the search team and volunteers, and a temporary stop to the rescue efforts was made effective on Wednesday.
On Friday, better conditions allowed the rescue teams to resume the mission. 20 elite searchers aided by two search helicopters were added to the team of rescuers and attempted in vain to find the two snowshoers around the Mount Strachan area. The air and ground crews allowed search efforts to expand to areas that were unreachable on foot alone.
According to Const. Palmer, some parts of the terrain were simply too dangerous to patrol on foot, and they had no choice but to pull the efforts for the safety of his officers and rescue teams. He also expressed his frustration with not being able to bring comfort and closure to the victim’s family in this time of need.
Authorities Call for Precautions
According to Mike Danks, captain of the North Shore rescue operation, this episode stresses the importance of hikers and snowshoers to always be prepared for any eventuality.
Danks said in an official statement that all hikers that intend to go in the North Shore mountain area should always leave a trip plan behind with friends and family to facilitate rescue missions if anything goes wrong. He also stressed the importance of not going to the area unless you are thoroughly prepared and experienced.