Search for missing hiker stood down

A map indicates where Sylvia Apps
A map indicates where Sylvia Apps' backpack was found, and the search area for the missing hiker.
— image credit: CTV News Vancouver island

The search for missing hiker Sylvia Apps has been officially stood down following a decision between her family and Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue (CVGSAR), but the case will remain open.

Paul Berry, information officer/ SAR manager for CVGSAR, said the decision was made between the family, the organization and the Comox Valley RCMP.

“The case will remain open as a missing person with the RCMP,” he added.

Apps, 69, is an experienced hiker who was last seen July 11 south on Castlecrag Mountain, after she began her multi-day trek July 8 at 11 a.m. from Paradise Meadows on Mount Washington. According to Comox Valley RCMP, she was equipped with navigation and safety equipment and has previously made long treks.

She was set to return July 13 at 4 p.m. at her starting point.

Earlier this week, CVGSAR found her blue backpack which contained everything except her walking poles and her camera.

Berry said the items were found in a different area from where the backpack was located.

"We don't know when these items were dropped, located there. We know she was on the summit of Castlecrag on the 10th, she signed in on the register, so potentially these items could have fallen and she could have lost them then, and she might have been looking for them the following day, we don’t know.”

Berry explained the decision to stand down the search was based on two factors: the level of cover- age and survivability.

“We look at the high probability of the search area and the covered areas,” he noted. “Also, we know Sylvia was without her belongings for at least seven days in extreme heat and extremely challenging terrain.”

With 19 different search teams from around the province contributing to the effort and hundreds of volunteers, Berry describes the search as “a roller coaster for the the family and the search teams.

“We felt like we were getting close, and then to come up with nothing, it’s very mystifying.”

Berry said he expects the family will continue the search, and explained the route Apps took is a very well-travelled area of Strathcona Park, and if any information or clues come in, the search could resume.

Anyone with information or who may find any clues should call the RCMP at 250-338-1321.


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