Search and rescue volunteers look for an overdue hiker in the mountainous terrain near Gold River, B.C. Photo by Campbell River Volunteer Search and Rescue Society – Facebook

Search for missing hiker suspended once again

Search for Laurence Philippsen was revived over the weekend after new information was received

The search for a missing hiker near Gold River has been called off once again.

Laurence Philippsen, 65, of Black Creek, is described as an experienced solo hiker. He left on a 40-kilometre route on Monday, June 29 and was expected to return Thursday, July 2.

Crews searched an isolated area of Strathcona Park for four days before the search was called off on July 6.

But armed with new information about where Philippsen was thought to be heading, more than 40 friends and hiking colleagues as well as search and rescue crews and RCMP members conducted more searches over the weekend.

RELATED: UPDATE: Search suspended for missing Vancouver Island hiker

According to a Comox Valley Ground Search & Rescue Facebook post, 45 friends and hiking colleagues performed a “well-organized” search of a “predetermined ridge and drainage area” Saturday. Then, on Sunday, 42 searchers from Campbell River SAR, Comox Valley SAR, and Nanaimo SAR, including five K9 teams – both RCMP and SAR – were dropped into a remote area by helicopter and performed “extensive grid searches through difficult wooded and technical terrain.”

“Despite the new information and the combined thousands of person-hours of search effort over five long operational periods, no clues were produced to lead us to Laurence’s whereabouts amidst this rugged and remote area of Vancouver Island,” the post said.

Story continues below.

The Google Earth imagery shows the cumulative GPS tracks of ground and air search operations by all searchers over the five operational search periods. Image: Comox Ground Search and Rescue – Facebook

While the active search for Philippsen has been suspended, a missing person’s investigation remains open with the RCMP.

Philippsen is described as Caucasian, five-foot-six, 160 lbs, with short silver hair and glasses.

He was last seen wearing a blue T-shirt, blue fleece sweater, beige hiking pants and had a large beige hiking pack. His shelter is a red tent.

Comox Valley SAR is asking any “well-prepared” hikers who plan to hike in this area of Strathcona Park to “keep vigilant for any sign” of Philippsen and to report any clues to the RCMP. The Nootka Sound RCMP can be reached at 250-283-2227.

– With files from Scott Stanfield


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The search for missing hiker Laurence Philippsen was suspended once again after volunteers combed difficult terrain near Gold River, B.C. to look for him on July 11 and 12, 2020. Photo: Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue – Facebook