Ben Kilmer has been missing since Wednesday evening in the Cowichan Valley. (Facebook)

UPDATE: Search efforts ramp up for missing B.C. dad; family urges public search of local river

Kilmer’s work van was found abandoned in the Cowichan Valley on Wednesday, with its engine still running

Kelsey Linning, a friend of Ben Kilmer and his family, made a statement to the press just before noon on Friday, as the search enters its third day for the missing father of two.

Linning said the family is urging anyone in the public who wants to help with the search to head down and look around the Cowichan River, as it is a large area that official search and rescue crews will not be able to reach. She reminded everyone to dress appropriately and bring water and other emergency supplies.

Volunteers from a number of search and rescue teams in the Cowichan Valley worked until 11 p.m. Thursday night and began again this morning, searching for Vancouver Island dad Kilmer.

Forty-one-year-old Kilmer’s vehicle was found running on Cowichan Lake Road Wednesday evening, with personal effects inside, and a search was launched.

Friends from Victoria arrived at the base early Friday morning, anxious to help.

“The search has been expanded and they’ll be going back over some of the area previously covered,” Cowichan SAR managerPatty Abbott said at about 6:30 Friday morning, as she awaited the arrival of an RCMP search dog and more volunteers.

RELATED: SAR personnel from across Island join in as search continues for Ben Kilmer

The RCMP were called to investigate the van, as it had been parked on the side of the road with its motor running, but no sign of the driver.

Volunteers with the Cowichan SAR team were then organized and a search of the surrounding area began within an hour.

“The minute the pagers go off someone is responding,” Abbott explained. “Four managers have pagers and typically we can be on the scene within an hour.”

The Cowichan SAR has 30 active members and is in the process of training another 15 candidates. SAR responds to between 25 and 30 emergencies a year, Abbott says.

Dozens of people in Canada go missing every day but not all generate a search response of this magnitude.

“This is different because we have his last known area. Yes, he could be anywhere, but at least we have a starting point.”

Search and rescue personnel from Cowichan, Ladysmith, Juan de Fuca, Nanaimo, Saltspring Island and the Saanich Peninsula are all involved with the operation.

The volunteers are searching an area in the Menzies Road/Cowichan Lake Road area on the outskirts of Duncan. It is mostly privately owned land, heavily-treed but with a number of residences.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Benjamin Kilmer, contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522 or if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Holiday lights displayed in Summerland neighbourhood

Trout Creek neighbourhood to hold fourth annual lights contest

Farm buildings drive value of Sumnmerland’s November building permits

Permits issued so far this year total $45,378,800

Santa Parade lights up the streets of Penticton

People lined Main Street through the rain and chill in the air.

Summerland college operated from 1906 to 1915

Ritchie Hall and Morton Hall were constructed for Okanagan Baptist College

South Okanagan volunteer dental clinic donates rotten teeth to good cause

H.E.C.K. recently gifted 47 rotten teeth to a search and rescue group in the area

Video: Magicians and Bubble Wonders highlight Penticton Shriners Variety Show

The annual fundraiser filled the Cleland Community Theatre on Sunday.

Morning Start: How many people live on earth?

Your morning start for December 10, 2019.

China hints at national security trials for 2 Canadians detained for one year

The two Canadians’ detention is largely seen as retaliation for the arrest of a Huawei exec

B.C. seaplane company set to test the first commercial electronic plane

The plane is powered by a 750 horsepower electric motor

Fireballs to fill the sky Friday for brightest meteor shower of the year

Geminid meteor shower features colourful, brighter, longer shooting stars

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Most Read