CORNER BROOK — The search for missing boater Richard Crocker has been handed over to the RCMP after military search and rescue teams were unable to locate the 45-year-old Meadows man.
Crocker has been missing since Wednesday evening when he failed to arrive in Trout River after setting out from Summerside at 5:30 p.m. The RCMP and Joint Rescue Co-Ordination Centre in Halifax, N.S. launched a search Thursday morning using a Hercules aircraft and Cormorant Helicopter, but after searching throughout the Bay of Islands to the coast of Labrador, the air search was called off late Friday.
“We stood down late (Friday) and turned it over to the RCMP as a missing person,” said Jeri Grychowski, spokesperson for the rescue co-ordination centre in Halifax. “They did what’s called a shore crawl north and south of the area, seeing if they could spot anybody along the shore area. When they don’t, that’s when they turn it over to the ground search.”
According to Const. Stephen McCarthy of the Rocky Harbour RCMP, pieces of Crocker’s 24-foot cabin cruiser My Fairwind have washed ashore along an approximate 12-kilometre stretch of shoreline near Sally’s Cove.
“There’s debris over that entire area,” McCarthy said Saturday, noting the amount of elapsed time and weather conditions were the reason for such a large search zone. “The size of the debris is very small, but the debris field is very large.”
While an investigation is ongoing, McCarthy said as of Saturday afternoon, no further active ground search of the area was planned unless new information came to light.
He said police will continue to monitor the shoreline and encourage local beach and marine users to do the same.
McCarthy said the case has always been treated as a missing person one since first being reported as an overdue vessel.
“With respect to a missing or unaccounted person, it’s been managed that way right from the onset of the investigation,” he said. “Our investigation will go on very much in infinity until we can determine what happened with Mr. Crocker.”