Press Release –
On Wednesday January 31st 2007, John Penny team leader, of the Ontario ATV Search and Rescue Federation received a phone call at approximately 11:00 am from Hamilton Police, SAR “Search and Rescue Commander Sgt. Duncan MacDougal requesting the assistance of the “Caledon District” Ontario ATV Search and Rescue group to aid in the search of a missing 55 year old man, Mr. Michael Hamm. The vast and rough terrain was an area that Hamilton Police were unable to properly search.
Dwight Banks, assistant team leader and Palgrave volunteer firefighter along with John Penny headed for the town of Waterdown, Ontario.
After preparing all necessary emergency gear and equipment without delay, they arrived at the command post in 2 hours to prepare for debriefing.
The weather was bitterly cold and the ground was covered with about 10 inches of snow. The snow was an additional benefit in looking for clues, footprints and also condensed the high marshy thistles to ground level. This enabled the 2 men to search the vast area 5 times less the time it would have been to cover the area in the summer.
Hamilton Police were very cordial and treated the group members with total respect and courtesy. They were fed and offered warm throughout the day.
Even with the use of a Helicopter, 6-wheel Argos, police search dogs, numerous trained police personnel and the Caledon ATV’s, the search was unsuccessful.
The day ended with another debriefing whereby the gentleman reported their findings and area description. Both were very confident that 95% of the grid they were given to search was completely searched with no signs or clues of the missing person, although they noted in their report there were certain areas that were impossible to cover.
Since then, Hamilton Police have now confirmed Mr. Hamm’s body was found by a man while on his daily walk in a secluded area amongst a cluster of cedar trees and brush. Based on the evidence foul play was not suspected.
This is just another example of the group’s continued support to assist local authorities, family members of missing persons and communities throughout Ontario.
Please take time to visit the web site at oatvsarf.org and learn more about the charity organization. Donations to cover equipment costs and training are always welcomed.