A mushroom picker who is helping search for a fellow picker near Yellowknife says he can’t imagine what the woman is going through out in the N.W.T. wilderness.
The woman was last seen Monday afternoon in the Reid Lake area. She met up with a fellow picker, but went back into the forest to find her backpack, and didn’t return.
RCMP say the woman had recently arrived from the Czech Republic. They’re not releasing her name at the request of her family.
Lukas Kobek, who lives in Vancouver, came to the N.W.T. about a month ago to search for valuable morels. He met the woman just two days before she went missing.
“I don’t know her too much,” said Kobek, who is also Czech. “She seems little bit unprepared for this area. You know, she [didn’t have] tent and this kind of thing.”
Kobek told the CBC the woman had previously been picking mushrooms in Wrigley, N.W.T. Fellow pickers have said she is in her early 30s and in relatively good shape.
But she’s new to the region.
“We are used to European forests … people are everywhere and roads are everywhere as well. So it’s something totally different to think about this forest and European forests,” Kobek said.
“This is just wild.”
On Monday, the area was hit with a rainstorm right around the time the woman was last seen.
“I thought she got [scared] and just ran somewhere in the forest,” Kobek said.
‘It’s kind of unsearchable’
Since Tuesday, about 20 people have been searching for the woman, including fellow pickers, volunteers, RCMP, Yellowknife Search and Rescue, and the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, as well as the Canadian Forces 440 Transport Squadron.
A chartered helicopter, a drone, a Dash 8 equipped with infrared technology and the RCMP’s dog unit have also been employed in the search.
Kobek said he’ll continue to look as long as needed.
“I can’t imagine how she can feel there, alone with all those mosquitos and everything, like wild animals,” he said.
“We have to find her.”
The RCMP have stressed how challenging the search is, due to the huge geographic area and the environmental challenges.
Kobek said it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack.
“Those forests, they are so dense and so never-ending. I think we have searched just tiny amount of area. It’s kind of unsearchable. It’s crazy.”
Kobek praised the many volunteers who have been “awesome” in the search.
“But it’s really hard because now it’s more than 80 hours that she’s missing,” he added.
“It’s [a] pretty long time.”
He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things? – Romans 8:32