An air and ground search and rescue effort is underway to locate a 31-year-old man who was last seen near Port Hood early Saturday morning.
Colin Joseph Beaton of Lower Sackville had been staying at a cottage with family members in Harbourview, Inverness County, according to an RCMP release. Beaton was last seen there on Saturday at 2 a.m.
Beaton’s sister took to Facebook Saturday evening urging the public to help in the search effort, saying her brother suffers from anxiety and had lost his glasses at the time of his disappearance.
“The last time his cell had service was in Aulds Cove,” said the woman’s post. “We thought he might be heading home but we’ve not heard anything. We are concerned for his well being. Please share.”
The woman, who’s since been participating in the Port Hood-area search effort through Sunday afternoon, continued to post Facebook updates on the group’s progress. At about 1 p.m. she said more assistance was coming, including Nova Scotia Ground Search and Rescue crews.
“Helicopters being mobilized. Search and rescue being mobilized now that there is a possible entry point. Thank you for your prayers. Today matters.”
By noon Sunday, almost a day-and-a-half after Beaton was last spotted, search and rescue crews had not been requested to assist in the search, said Cst. Natasha Dantiste, RCMP spokeswoman. At that point, only police officers were among the emergency responders managing the effort.
Roughly an hour later, at 1 p.m., the warden of Inverness County, Betty Ann MacQuarrie told The Chronicle Herald that Nova Scotia’s Ground Search and Rescue teams were being mobilized.
MacQuarrie said she had just been given the news during a conversation moments before with the RCMP constable in charge of the search effort.
MacQuarrie had first learned of the police-led search effort by the Herald. Immediately after, she inquired with the police. The warden had said she was surprised that search and rescue crews had not been called to assist sooner.
“It’s worrisome as to what’s taking place,” said MacQuarrie. “I’m concerned that the usual efforts don’t seem to be in place. When people are aware of it they just want to help out. There should be some kind of an explanation.”
The Herald had spoken to the RCMP twice on Sunday, once in the morning and again at noon. On both occasions Dantiste would not say exactly why Beaton’s case didn’t warrant search and rescue assistance as of noon on Sunday.
“There’s no active search that’s happening,” she said during the initial morning conversation. “There’s certain things that determine if a crew needs to be called out for something like this. We’re still in constant contact with family members.”
Gerard Beaton, a Port Hood volunteer firefighter, said as of late Sunday morning he and no other members of the department he knew of had been called to assist in the search.
According to police, Beaton is 5-foot-11-inches tall, 160 pounds with red hair. He was last seen wearing a grey hoodie, jeans and rubber boots.
Police also say he left the cottage early Saturday morning on foot and may be disoriented.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Beaton is asked to contact the Inverness RCMP at 902-258-2213. Anonymous tipsters can contact Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or file a secure web tip at Crimestoppers.ns.ca, or use the P3 Tips App.