Searchers shine in the darkest hour

He had a cell phone to his ear, she was crying and holding on to his arm.

He had a cell phone to his ear, she was crying and holding on to his arm.

They were the third couple I had seen like this walking along the side of the highway as I drove back toward Prince Rupert.

A few hours earlier I had seen them clad in high visibility vests combing through the ditch area near Oliver Lake.

Many groups of two, three and four people could be seen along the highway. As I turned around at Prudhomme Lake there appeared to be a family scouring the lakeshore close to the highway. As I slowly drove by, a young girl carrying a walking stick poked at the bushes while an older man seemed to call her to catch up.

I knew what they were doing.

They were among dozens searching desperately, but hopefully, for the missing Adam Moore.

I caught up with District of Port Edward fire chief Shawn Pettitt a little later as he and two of his crew scoured Cannery Road for any signs of the young man or his vehicle.

Pettitt and his crew weren’t leaving anything unchecked. So much so, Pettitt was climbing down steep embankments into the bush below just to check.

As I walked along Cannery Road with Pettitt, Grant Moore and Rob Farnum, the mood was sombre but they were still hoping.

Then Pettitt’s cell phone rang.

After a short conversation, Pettitt whistled to Moore and Farnum and called them in. The search of Cannery Road was over.

He looked crestfallen.

Pettitt never revealed any details of the phone call except to say that he was calling his searchers in and the RCMP were now in charge.

As I headed back, the cordon was just going up at the Galloway Rapids Bridge and more and more search teams began to show up.

While there was nothing definitive at the time, it was evident hope the searchers had, while not ended, had diminished. They feared the worst.

Again, while there has not been anything definitive as of this writing late Monday, one thing struck me as I drove past all of those search crews slowly walking along the highway toward the bridge on Sunday: gratitude.

After nearly three decades in journalism, I’ve always been heartened and gratified to know there are people out there like these searchers, who in the darkest hour shine the brightest.

Their selflessness and dedication are to be commended even in this most tragic of circumstances.