The search for missing fisherman Jordan Hicken continues and the boundaries expand with each passing day, said Kings District Sergeant Howard Fitzpatrick.
“As more time goes by, the bigger our search area becomes."
Mr Hicken, 22, went missing on Tuesday, May 21 when he went overboard from the fishing vessel Plum Crazy in the waters off Naufrage Harbour on the north side of PEI.
More than a week later the search area now includes the shoreline from East Point to Tracadie with fishers and police along the Cape Breton coast also keeping a watchful eye.
“There are so many different currents and tides and you don’t know how anything is going to happen underwater,” Sgt Fitzpatrick said. “There are just too many variables to predict.”
On Sunday every inch of the 80 plus kms of PEI shoreline was searched through the combined efforts of six local fire departments, numerous fishermen, PEI Ground Search and Rescue volunteers and untold numbers of the public who combed the beaches and waters just off shore.
RCMP used two drones to scour the roughly 9 kms of coast where no beach access exists. The canine unit was also brought in to search where large mounds of seaweed had accumulated on the shoreline.
Drones are a very efficient tool and allows the search to continue, Sgt Fitzpatrick said.
“They do about four passes of each area going a little deeper every time,” he explained.
The bottom of the sea shows up as greyish brown so any colour out of the ordinary picked up by the drone can be further examined by zooming in.
“We have the benefit of it being (lobster) season right now so we have a lot of eyes on the water every day right in the area,” Sgt Fitzpatrick said.
There are five harbours along the search area with well over 100 boats on the water six days a week.
As for the PEI Ground Search and Rescue team, Sgt Fitzpatrick said any further involvement from them is not scheduled at this time.
“We are evaluating as we go along,” he said.
PEI Ground Search and Rescue is a contingent of volunteers from across PEI and coordinating them to be involved is no small task.
“We have to have an expectation this is the right thing to do at a particular time in the search,” Sgt Fitzpatrick added.
While the official efforts have been scaled back, the search is by no means over, said St Peter’s Fire Chief Craig Campbell.
“It has become a real community endeavour,” he said.
Multiple people, both firefighters and members of the public have been patrolling along the shore with ATVs, not only on Sunday but at one time or another every day since the search began.
“Along with the public there are all a lot of people from all around that are over searching hoping to help find closure for the family,” Mr Campbell said.
From the time Tuesday’s rescue mission turned into a missing person search last Wednesday, Mr Campbell said countless people have been doing what they can.
People have been very generous in dropping off food to volunteers.
“Everybody is doing their part going out for a walk in the evenings looking,” he added.
“Hopefully it will all come to an end shortly.”
Jordan is from Lower Montague and is the son of Trevor and Kim. The young man fished with his father.
Jordan was a graduate of Montague High who spent his teen years playing hockey and was also involved in the harness racing industry.