After spending more than a day lost in the bush near Mackenzie, four-year-old George Hazard-Benoit has been reunited with his family.
“George has been found, safe and sound,” said RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson.
“It’s amazing, it’s a miracle. He was found walking around in the bush by and police dog and he’s been reunited with his mom and dad. It’s great news.”
The police dog located the boy at about 7:30 p.m., nearly 31 hours after he went missing in a heavily-wooded area near Lions Lake, 11 kilometres south of Mackenzie off Highway 39. He was found wet and cold but otherwise uninjured. It’s believed he was found near a lake during a time when the rain stopped falling.
Light rain which began Saturday persisted throughout the day Sunday hampering the search. Saunderson said an RCMP helicopter was called in for the search effort but was grounded due to poor visibility. A fixed wing aircraft was also on hand for the search.
Mackenzie Search and Rescue set up a command post at Lions Lake Provincial Park and hundreds of volunteers joined the search, including 13 members of Prince George Search and Rescue and provincial conservation officers. Search and rescue teams from Fort St. James, Chetwynd and Fort St. John also participated in the search.
George had been out with his mother and a friend picking berries near a railway track and was in their vehicle, about 10 metres from where they were picking, when he was last seen at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
“He was asleep in the van, and when they went to go check on him he was gone,” George’s father Kristopher Benoit told Global News.