Search resumes for missing Cape Breton woman last seen Easter weekend
The search for a missing Cape Breton resumed on Saturday after being called off due to weather conditions.
Debbie Hutchinson, 59, of Sydney hasn't been seen since the Easter weekend. A ground search began Wednesday after her burned out vehicle was found on this isolated road not far from her home.
A Department of Natural Resources helicopter scoured a wooded area of Sydney on Saturday.
"I don't know about bringing it to a conclusion, but we can clear the area here,” said Paul Vienneau of Cape Breton Ground Search and Rescue. “We can see down to the ground pretty good."
Saturday was the third day of searching in the Cossitt Heights area, but the first that weather conditions have been good enough for efforts to take to the air.
Crews spent hours conducting what they call a “treetop search,” about 15 metres in the air. But despite ideal search conditions, there is still no sign of Debbie Hutchinson.
"There's always the possibility she could be in another area,” said Vienneau. “The only thing we can do is say, 'We searched this area, and we were successful in proving she was not in this particular area at the moment.'"
Vienneau thinks chances are pretty good she could be somewhere else. He estimates that the ground search done earlier this week would have had about a 75 per cent probability of detection. But the team wants to make sure they’re 100 per cent sure.
If nothing turns up, it's not yet clear what happens next.
"The investigation will continue, and if new information comes in and police have a new area they'd like us to search, then they'd call us back. Hopefully we can bring closure to the family," said Vienneau.
Vienneau says despite the cool night time temperatures, people have survived in much harsher conditions. But with so much time having passed already, he says the chances of finding Debbie Hutchinson alive appear to be getting slimmer.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.