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Desperate search for missing mushroom pickers intensifies near Pemberton

Last Updated Oct 27, 2020 at 9:46 am PDT

Peter Oleski, left, and River Leo, right, haven't been seen since they left to go mushroom picking north of Pemberton last Thursday. Concern is growing for the pair from the Lil'wat Nation. (Courtesy Facebook/Darla John)

The search for Peter Oleski and son River Leo continues north of Pemberton after the pair was last seen on Thursday

Concern for father, son from Lil'wat Nation grows after they went mushroom picking Thursday, didn't return

Several SAR groups and dozens of volunteers are now looking for Peter Oleski and River Leo

PEMBERTON (NEWS 1130) – Dozens of volunteers and several search and rescue teams are still looking for clues that could lead them to two missing men from the Lil’wat Nation.

Peter Oleski, 48, and River Leo, 21, haven’t been seen since they left their homes on Thursday morning, when they ventured off to pick mushrooms in a mountainous area north of Pemberton.

The last anyone heard from them was around 2 p.m. that day, before the red Dodge pick-up they were travelling in was found at a paragliding launch area.

RCMP say Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police requested help Friday morning and searchers have been using dogs and helicopters as part of the ongoing effort.

The RCMP helicopter has come from Langley and can only fly around looking for heat-signatures for an hour before it needs to stop to refuel, according to a police officer seen in a video of a search party debrief, online.

Lil’wat members are heard in that video asking why searches haven’t been starting at first light.

The officer says the search is complicated and intricate and because of COVID is moving slower than usual as each of the independent SAR teams must be briefed separately.

Local First Nations communities and Pemberton businesses have been on hand with food and supplies each day and family members from as far as Vancouver Island and Vancouver have been aiding in the search.

Nearly nine search and rescue groups are on hand, but winter conditions continue to dampen hopes the pair will be found alive.

-With files from Lisa Steacy and Kareem Gouda