A large search is underway north of Merritt for a missing man after his horse was found riderless on Monday.
Police in Merritt say they were notified of the missing cowboy at approximately 12:30 p.m., after loggers found the lone, fully-geared horse earlier in the day. Local ranchers were notified and they retrieved the horse while also identifying its owner.
The missing cowboy, 32-year-old Ben Tyner, works for a local ranch and had been on his days off.
Police say he was last seen on Saturday at 2 p.m., but it’s unknown when he rode into the backcountry or where he was heading.
Search -and-rescue teams include crews from Nicola Valley, Kamloops, Shuswap, Central Okanagan, Penticton, Princeton, Logan Lake, Chilliwack and Surrey. Police say nearly 40 search and rescue members were onsite on Monday evening, along with dog services, snowmobiles and air support.
“We’ve had tremendous support from search-and-rescue teams across the province,” Merritt RCMP Const. Tracy Dunsmore said.
Dunsmore said it was “very unusual” for a seasoned cowboy to be separated from his horse.
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Police say drones are also being deployed, as well as help from numerous ranchers on horseback, staff from a lumber mill and the Lower Nicola Indian Band.
Police added that due to active logging and herds of wild horses, finding the man’s tracks has been hindered.
Members of the public are being asked to not participate in searching as it may interfere in search and rescues efforts.
However, if anyone has any information, or may have seen a male riding in the Swakum Ridge area north of Merritt on Saturday or Sunday, they are asked to contact the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262.