KIMBERLEY, B.C. — A desperate search and rescue effort ended in relief on Sunday when a missing two-year-old boy was found safe in British Columbia's east Kootenays.
Isaac Leuenberger was walking with his mother and two siblings at around 7 p.m. Saturday in Premier Lake Provincial Campground when he became separated from them.
Kimberley RCMP and dozens of volunteers searched overnight until the boy was found at 11 a.m. near Yankee Lake, several kilometres from where he went missing.
`"He's in good health. He had some scratches on him and he was hungry,'' said Cpl. Chris Newel.
Isaac Leuenberger became separated from his mother and two siblings at around 7 p.m. Saturday. (Photo: Facebook/Help Find Isaac)
"Mom cleaned him up and he met with the search and rescue volunteers who came out to help. He didn't go to the hospital and he's fine.''
Newel said it appeared the toddler got distracted and wandered up the wrong trail without his mother or siblings. Yankee Lake is connected to the campground through a well-worn trail.
He said a volunteer searcher heard a noise just off the trail, checked it out and found the little boy.
Over 70 search and rescue volunteers were involved and many locals attended to assist. A police dog combed the area most of the night and two helicopters were involved, he said.
After the toddler went missing, a Facebook group titled "Help Find Isaac'' was quickly created. On Sunday, a user with the name Amanda Leuenberger posted to the group.
"On behalf of the Leuenberger family, we would like to thank everyone who helped, prayed and spread the word,'' she wrote.
"Issac is safe and well,'' she added. "He said he slept in the grass ... tough little guy. Happy day!''
The campground is located about 60 kilometres north of Kimberley.
Newel said the boy's family and the dozens of volunteers who helped with the search were "elated'' that he was found safe.
"We're very grateful and we're all just bursting.''