RCMP and ground search teams have been staged at Kejimkujik National Park in search of a missing man and his nine-year-old daughter who did not return from a canoe trip when expected on July 1.
Police said the girl has been found but the man, 46-year-old Bradley Hall, has not.
On July 1, shortly after 6 p.m., Annapolis District RCMP responded to a call that two people were overdue from a three-day canoeing and camping trip, RCMP said in a media release.
"The pair were well-prepared for the trip and had sufficient camping equipment and provisions with them," said Cpl. Jennifer Clarke. "They left Milford House on June 28 and planned to paddle the Mersey River, aiming to arrive at Jake's Landing in Kejimkujik National Park on June 30."
The actual search area is outside the boundary of Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site. Once the search began, the canoe was located, abandoned along the route. Searchers also located two campsites which indicated the pair headed inland once they left the canoe.
A command post for the search has been set up inside Kejimkujik National Park. The search is being led by the RCMP and is being assisted by Parks Canada, volunteer ground search and rescue personnel, and the Joint Rescue Co-Ordination Centre. Searchers have been on scene since the time of the initial call on July 1. A search of the ground and shoreline in the area is underway, with searchers on the ground and also air support.
The nine-year-old girl was found safe, shortly after 1:30 p.m. on July 2. She is not injured. The search for Bradley Hall is continuing, Clarke said in the release.
Bradley James Hall is described as an Indigenous man, with grey medium length hair, brown eyes, and was wearing a brown long sleeve shirt, tan pants, and brown shoes.
Bradley Hall and the nine-year-old girl were in a red, 15-foot-long canoe which had 'Mad River Canoe' on the side. They had a large tent which was blue, teal, and beige. Police and searchers are requesting that anyone who saw the missing people call them immediately to assist with the search effort.
Clarke had earlier told the Annapolis Valley Register that three search teams are involved, plus a Cormorant helicopter from 14 Wing Greenwood. An RCMP helicopter was on standby to augment the Cormorant search.
At the scene, media were kept from the command centre but search crews from Annapolis County and North Queens were seen entering and leaving the scene, plus a canine unit entered the area at about 3 p.m.
Keji Superintendent Jonathan Sheppard said RCMP are taking the lead on the search that is happening outside the park’s boundaries.
“We have been assisting with them in that, but it is under their command,” Sheppard said. “We have a spot in here where they based their incident command post and their bus and we’re just kind of helping with logistics, resources, and stuff.”
There is also an emergency landing pad at the site just a few hundred metres from the park’s edge on Highway 8. A helicopter could be heard in the area. Also on scene was an ambulance.
Parks Canada staff blocked off the road into the compound to keep the people out. Sheppard said that about a dozen Parks Canada staff have been involved in assisting RCMP.
Staff at a nearby restaurant were preparing food for searchers right up until supper time. They watched a helicopter fly over at about 5 p.m. wondering if there was any news. They know the girl was found but are still worried about the father.
Val and Charlie Richard, managers at Milford House about 20 minutes away, have no record of Bradley Hall or his daughter at the resort in South Milford. Both said people launch their canoes from one of two locations at Milford House and staff aren’t always aware of it. But usually they ask canoers their plans and get a contact number. In this case they have no record or memory of Hall and Milford House staff have not been contacted by the RCMP.
Charlie Richard said the canoe trip from Milford House to Keji is popular and can be done in as little as eight to 12 hours or can be spread out over several days.