UPDATE: HUNTERS HAVE BEEN FOUND SAFE!
“It is with great happiness we can announce the missing hunters, Paul Celesta and Will Smith have been found. They are both safe and on their way to Barriere,” said a social media post by Pam Jim of Little Fort, “All volunteers kindly check out with Tina at the Barriere Search and Rescue. Thank you to all who volunteered in the efforts. We are forever grateful.”
A missing persons alert was issued by Simpcw First Nation in the early morning of Sunday, Nov. 22, for band elder Paul Celesta and Will Smith, who failed to return home from a hunting trip. They were driving a 1993 navy blue Ford Ranger with a black canopy.
When the pair failed to return the previous evening community members searched the surrounding areas until early Sunday morning with no sightings.
“We have been informed Search and Rescue will be searching by plane today. Any person(s) wanting to assist with the search efforts must contact Tina Donald at 250-682-2801. Do not attempt to search alone without checking in. Search parties must be in pairs and have a reliable truck with winter tires. Dress for the conditions, bring blankets and extra clothing. Paul is diabetic. Bring food, including something sweet,” advised a Simpcw press release posted on their Facebook site.
Another Facebook post advised volunteers wishing to help search are asked to stop at the BARRIERE FIRE HALL and register with the person in the GREEN Vest.
A helicopter is currently searching the area.