Alberni Valley Rescue Squad search manager Richard Johns oversees computerized search maps at the AVRS Rescue Hall during a mission in June 2022. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Alberni Valley Rescue Squad search manager Richard Johns oversees computerized search maps at the AVRS Rescue Hall during a mission in June 2022. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

UPDATE: Missing Port Alberni man found safe by search and rescue volunteers

Family and friends reported that James Vezina has been missing since May 31

After an extensive search, volunteers with various search and rescue groups have found a man who was reported missing in the Alberni Valley.

Richard Johns, search manager with the Alberni Valley Rescue Squad (AVRS) says James Vezina of Port Alberni was located at around 11:50 a.m. on Saturday, June 4. He was transferred to BC Ambulance, then to West Coast General Hospital for treatment.

“He was cold and wet and hungry, but in relatively good health,” said Johns.

Vezina, 30, of Port Alberni had been missing since May 31, according to family and friends. Search crews were called at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, June 3 to search hiking trails around Port Alberni.

“With the amount of time that had elapsed since this person had last been seen, we had to extend our search radius out quite a bit,” Johns said. “There’s been some additional factors that have made the search a little bit more complicated,” he said, adding that he could not elaborate publicly on those factors.

“Prior to this he was camping with family and friends. That trip was cut short,” Johns said. Vezina does not usually go camping on his own.”This is an unusual circumstance for him, which is part of the circumstances which are concerning to the family,” he added.

A foot team made contact with Vezina on Saturday in the area of Seizai Road near the Alberni Inlet Trailhead. Johns said that Vezina had left his home late in the evening and ended up getting lost in the woods after losing his sense of direction.

The AVRS thanked Comox Valley Search and Rescue, Arrowsmith Search and Rescue and Campbell River Search and Rescue for their assistance in the search, as well as all of the members of the public who provided helpful information and kept a lookout for Vezina. The RCMP also provided assistance on Saturday morning with a helicopter.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

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Family and friends reported James Vezina of Port Alberni missing on May 31, 2022. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

Family and friends reported James Vezina of Port Alberni missing on May 31, 2022. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)