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

UPDATE: Family of missing Ben Kilmer urges public to help search Cowichan River area

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 Kilmer. 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 manager Patty 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

Kilmer, 41, was last seen on Wednesday afternoon but mysteriously disappeared. His work van was found on Lake Cowichan Road on the outskirts of Duncan.

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.

READ MORE: Long weekends always busy for search and rescue

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).



ragnar.haagen@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Chantal Schwark, left with Gerri Gill and Elle Schwark, 11 months old in the pumpkin patch at Arrowvale Farm. (SONJA DRINKWATER/ Alberni Valley News)
Final day for Arrowvale pumpkin patch is Oct. 25

Drive down to the patch and pick your own pumpkin

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read