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Gordon Moore's brother-in-law Master Corporal James Rogers and Sgt. Martin St.Charles look at search grids covering the rugged area where the missing man was last thought to have stayed. - Chris Hunsley/NNSL photo

Lost on the land

Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jan 31/05) - Canadian Rangers and local civilians have joined in the intense search efforts for a missing Beaufort-Delta man.

It is suspected that Gordon Moore, who was last seen at a cabin 94 kilometres east of Inuvik around 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22., attempted to walk back to Inuvik.

Rogers points to the last known sighting of his brother-in-law Gordon Moore, who has been missing in the Beaufort-Delta area since Saturday, Jan. 22. - Chris Hunsley/NNSL photo

After four days of air and land searches using up to four RCMP crews, eight snowmobiles and two helicopters, Ottawa was asked to dispatch the 1 Canadian Rangers Patrol Group (1CRPG) out of Yellowknife Thursday afternoon.

By Friday, four Rangers were on the land, each with a snowmobile, where they planned to stay overnight and follow up on whatever leads they find.

"They are staying there to save time and it's much easier for logistics," said Sgt. Martin St. Charles, co-ordinator of the Ranger's efforts.

St. Charles expected at least two members of the Inuvik Ranger Patrol to join the search Saturday if needed.

A private aircraft and two civilian rescue teams also began performing search patterns Thursday.

"We rely on the expertise of the local people," said Staff Sgt. Sid Gray of the Inuvik RCMP. "This is their backyard."

The RCMP, which has co-ordinated the search from the beginning, had to pull all but two officers from the ground search due to court commitments.

Fresh signs of human activity were found Thursday in a rugged area a mere 16 kilometres from the cabin where Moore was last seen.

"They located a camp and fresh urine signs," said Gray.

A lean-to with tracks leading to a fire pit area was also discovered.

"It gives us hope," said Gray. "It suggests he's still upright."

Moore's tracks were also found Tuesday and Wednesday.

"He knows where he is, he's following the pattern of a straight line," said St.Charles, adding this would suggest Moore's not disoriented or in shock.

Weather problems

Although it was cool and clear Friday, blowing snow and high winds earlier in the week hampered the search as potential tracks and campsites were covered by snow drifts.

St.Charles expected calm and clear weather Saturday, but expressed concern about the cold temperatures expected for Sunday and Monday.

"For sure every minute counts," he said.

Last seen wearing snowshoes and a white fur hat, thick winter jacket and ski pants, Moore was well prepared to face the elements.

It is also thought he might be in possession of a 22-calibre gun, Carpenter said.

"Hopefully he's got some kind of container to make water," said Moore's brother-in-law Master Corporal James Rogers of the 1CRPG, who is involved in the search.

Moore grew up in the area, is accustomed to living off the land and much of the distance to Inuvik is open tundra, Rogers said.

"I think if he saw someone, he would go to them."

"I'm still optimistic that we're going to find him OK," said Gray, who's main concern was Moore's source of food.

"He's an accomplished person of the land, and I expect he could make it a greater distance than I could."

Police do not suspect any altercation or incident led to Moore's disappearance.

"All indications are he just wanted to come home," Carpenter said.

The Rangers will also stay with the search until Tuesday, St.Charles said.

Anyone who wants to become involved in the search effort is asked to call the RCMP first. Individuals are asked not to attempt to search on their own.

"We don't want anyone else getting lost," Gray said.