NEWS

81-Year-Old Found After 2 Nights In N.B. Woods

04/30/2012 05:21 EDT | Updated 06/30/2012 05:12 EDT

A missing 81-year-old Miramichi man has been found safe and sound after being outdoors for two nights in sub-zero temperatures.

Andrew Ben Baldwin had been missing in the woods since Saturday, but was located Monday about 3:30 p.m. with the help of an estimated 300 people from across the province.

"He was located in an area that we moved to earlier this morning because of a footprint that was located late last night," said Miramichi Police Sgt. Bob Bruce.

Baldwin was transported by helicopter to the Miramichi Regional Hospital, where he is now in emergency care and believed to be in stable condition.

"As far as his medical status, I don't have the answers to that right now, but he is still alive," said Bruce.

Baldwin was conscious and responsive when searchers found him, but extremely hypothermic, police said.

Baldwin left his home on Douglasfield Road for his daily walk shortly after 10 a.m. and didn't return.

His wife reported him missing about 2 p.m.

Baldwin walks regularly and is said to be in good health, but his family says he suffers from dementia and may have become disoriented.

Miramichi police and search and rescue crews searched throughout the weekend from their makeshift command centre at Baldwin's residence, Spruce Shade Farm — a U-Pick raspberry business.

On Monday, they relocated their base to Highway 126, about 14 kilometres south of Baldwin's home in the Barnaby area, where footprints had been found, police said.

Baldwin was found off Weldfield-Collette Road.

"It's a very heavily wooded area, remote, very wet," said Bruce. "It's wet to start with, but we had a lot of rain on Friday of this past week and of course it's the springtime of the year as well.

"I know even our canine officer that was out numerous times got up to her waist in water at some points and going through different thickets where, a lot of scratches and things like that. A hard area to search," he said.

Conditions were even worse overnight as temperatures dipped to -3 C, said Bruce.

Baldwin was wearing a hat and jacket, but did not have any shelter, he said.

Still, his son Kim, who had travelled from Nova Scotia to be on hand for the search, said he was hopeful.

He told CBC News Baldwin has lived in the Miramichi area his entire life and had worked outdoors as a prospector and geologist.

Police canine units and Department of Natural Resources personnel with ATVs participated in the search, along with several search and rescue crews, including Tri-County, Chaleur, Greater Fundy, River Valley and York-Sunbury, as well as people from the community.

Baldwin's neighbour, Paul Creamer, was among the volunteers.

"I walked as much as me legs would stand," he said.

The RCMP helicopter and DNR aircraft also assisted in the search.