THE SEARCH and rescue team say they are closing in on the location of Michael Devlin Sabo, 32, one of two mushroom pickers who is still missing after 16 days in the woods east of Terrace.
Terrace Search and Rescue official Dave Jephson said this afternoon that the search team has located a knapsack in a spot where Sabo and his picking partner Ike Murray, 26, had stayed for five or six days.
The official search for Sabo resumed yesterday afternoon after Murray was found on CN rail tracks in the area by a company worker at 4 p.m.
“So we have a crew on the ground. We have a location that we believe that they stayed at in the back end of Fiddler we are now searching that area for Devlin,” said Jephson.
“It’s where they stayed for five or six days. Then they moved on thinking they were going somewhere closer to be seen.”
Jephson said they are not expecting to find Sabo alive based on the reports from Murray who was taken to Mills Memorial Hospital last night and is recovering.
Murray told officials they could hear the helicopters looking for them, but were unable to navigate closer, said Jephson.
“They saw the helicopters all the time. They knew that we were searching,” said Jephson.
“They had no idea where they were. When they decided to move they went further west up the river. They were totally disorientated.”
The pair were reported missing Sept. 22 and an official search began Sept. 23 ended Sept. 29 when no trace of the pair was found. An unofficial search then began until this past weekend.
The search, one of the largest in the area in several decades and conducted under the auspices of the provincial Emergency Management BC agency, involved 150 people at its peak with search and rescue experts coming from points across B.C. to assist Terrace Search and Rescue.
During the first week of the search from Sept. 22 to Sept. 28, 25 members of the Canadian Rangers, a group who are associated the military, had searched the same area where the backpack was discovered.
“During the search we were right there. We sent the rangers back there. They walked right past,” said Jephson.
The backpack was discovered six kilometres from where Fiddler Creek runs into the Skeena, near the area where the two men were scheduled to meet Sabo’s brother Connor at 4 p.m. on Sept. 22.
It wasn’t until 15 days later that Murray finally managed to make his way back to the train tracks.
The CN truck picked him on on the tracks at Fiddler Creek.
Currently 12 search and rescue and RCMP are out looking for Sabo. A medivac-equiped helicopter owned by Lakelse Air is being used for the search.