Merritt RCMP, Nicola Valley Search and Rescue (SAR) and numerous other groups are on their fourth day of searching for a missing male in the Merritt area.
Sources have now confirmed the rider's identity as Ben Tyner. Tyner is the manager at Nicola Ranch, and has held that position for the past three months.
On Wednesday, Tyner's parents and brother flew in to assist in the search.
Police were advised of a horse with no rider and full gear on Monday Jan.28, after the horse had been located by loggers in the area. The loggers then advised local ranchers who retrieved the horse and identified its owner.
Tyner, who worked for a local ranch and had been on his days off and unknown to be missing. Enquiries determined that he was last seen Saturday at 2 p.m. but it is unknown when he rode into the back country.
Merritt RCMP Cst. Tracy Dunsmore issued a press release on Tuesday noting that search efforts are being coordinated by Nicola Valley SAR with the assistance of Kamloops SAR. Other teams have been called in from the Shuswap, Penticton, Princeton, Logan Lake, COSAR, Chilliwack and Surrey.
She added that nearly 40 SAR members were onsite Monday evening with Police Dog Services, snowmobiles and RCMP air support. Overnight Search and Rescue provided air searching from PEP Air and drones equipped with FLIR capabilities as well as ground searchers.
Search and Rescue has also accepted assistance from numerous ranchers on horseback, Aspen Planers staff, Lower Nicola Indian Band and have four trained search dogs on scene with a helicopter on scene all day.
Due to active logging in the area and herds of wild horses, finding track for the rider has been hindered and Search and Rescue is still unaware of the missing male’s destination so continue to search the area. Members of the public are asked to not participate in lone searching as it may interfere in the search and rescues efforts but if anyone has any information or may have seen a male riding in the Swakum Ridge area of Merritt Saturday or Sunday they are asked to contact the Merritt RCMP.
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