Ben Tyner, formerly from Wyoming, has been working at the Nicola Ranch in Merritt. (Facebook)

Cowichan SAR team home, cowboy remains missing in Merritt

Search for Ben Tyner called off after seven days

Two of Cowichan Search and Rescue’s top search managers and one of it’s best trackers have returned from Merritt where they were helping to search for a missing cowboy.

“Our team is back home safe and sound. Both the extreme weather, and fatigue were becoming a concern,” confirmed Cowichan Search and Rescue president Jamie Tudway-Cains.

Rancher Ben Tyner, 32, was last seen the afternoon of Jan. 26. His horse was found two days later, still saddled up.

Efforts to locate Tyner were suspended after seven days with extreme cold and poor weather conditions, as well as the size of the search area covered cited by Merritt RCMP Const. Tracy Dunsmore as the reason.

“Although the search is suspended at this time the RCMP will continue to investigate and if further info is located the search can be reinstated,” Dunsmore wrote in a news release. “Extreme cold and snow on Sunday hindered search efforts somewhat but volunteers continued to search drainage areas and steep terrain with no results.”

The massive search for the cowboy, formerly from Wyoming but who’d been working at the Nicola Ranch in Merritt, included 19 search and rescue teams from across the province along with dog tracking teams, air support, drones, horses and community volunteers.

“Cowichan SAR is very proud of our members involved, and the other search and rescue groups from across the province. There was also great support from the communities of Merritt and Nicola Valley,” Tudway-Cains said. “It’s an amazing feat when people from so many different walks of life come together for a common goal. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t have a better outcome.”

Tyner had just become the ranch manager in November, 2018.

READ MORE: Hunt on for missing Merritt cowboy after riderless horse found

SEE RELATED: COSAR joins search for missing Merritt cowboy

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