Hornby Island Fire Rescue, along with many other community members, has been involved in an intense ground search for Orlando Graham. The RCMP, 442 Squadron from CFB Comox, Canadian Coast Guard. the Rescue Coordination Center in Victoria, Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue, and many other Search and Rescue (SAR) groups from Campbell River to Cowichan, have been searching the water and land since Wednesday night. At times there were upwards of 75 people working within the organized search plan and countless others searching on their own.
The response from the Hornby Island community has been every bit as generous as we’ve come to expect. The various SAR teams have been astounded by how well our island has looked after them and supported their efforts. We’re extremely proud of our island and particularly proud of our Fire Department. Our members absolutely shone in their assigned tasks, demonstrating professionalism, passion, and dedication to the job.
We can’t thank enough everyone who helped out, but there were some standouts. Valerie Pagnier came 4 times with batches of fresh baking and Mia Wood made lunch for 40 people. Rachelle Chinnery and Theresa Hamilton did a search detail, then worked the rest of Thursday and Friday coordinating food and coffee. Ian Emberton took time away from the new twins to transport food and to make a batch of cookies. Many other Islanders patiently waited to be assigned a search team and then diligently carried out their task.
Wilson Curry worked tirelessly all Thursday doing several search details. Then at the end of the day slipped on a rock and badly sprained his ankle. We wish him a speedy recovery and thank him for his hard work.
At this time the command structure of all of the involved organizations agree that any location where Orlando would be if he was injured or needing help has been exhaustively searched by both people and 4 dog teams. There is, however, no conclusive evidence to indicate what has happened to him. Please have a good look in any of your outbuildings, cabins, or structures.
The off island SAR teams have left and aren’t expected to return unless additional information or clues emerge. The RCMP will continue to comb the coastline from the water as well as exploring other investigative avenues. The Fire Department has stood down but is ready to start it all over again if something comes up.
All of our members, as well as the community at large, are extremely saddened by Orlando’s disappearance. Our hearts go out to Veronica, Renaud, and the rest of Orlando’s family.
Chief Giff LaRose
Deputy Chief Doug Chinnery
If you have any concerns or questions about the search please contact Doug at 218-9156 or Giff at 335.1115. We are happy to provide any information that we can.