The Leuenberger family addresses media and Search and Rescue volunteers after their son was found safe on Sunday morning.

Missing toddler found after 16-hour search

A two-year-old boy was found safe and sound after spending the night in the wilderness.

A two-year-old boy was found safe and sound after spending the night in the wilderness near Premier Lake Provincial Campground, north of Kimberley.

Issac Leuenberger went missing around 7 p.m. on Saturday evening after getting distracted while walking with his family. The toddler was found 16 hours later, at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning, near Yankee Lake, roughly three kilometers away from where he was last seen.

Fernie Search and Rescue manager, Simon Piney, said the amount of effort to find the boy was astounding.

“So many people in the SAR [Search and Rescue] community, in Kimberley, Fernie and Sparwood dropped everything on a Sunday morning, put their lives on hold to help,” said Piney, adding that volunteer SAR teams from as far away as Nelson came to help in the effort.

Piney said there were two helicopters and multiple boats, some equipped with underwater cameras, all deployed to search for Leuenberger, who was found by a family member who was with the search effort.

From what authorities can tell, the boy said he spent the night in the grass, meaning he fell asleep at some point during the night. Piney said it was remarkable the boy was found in such good condition considering he was wearing only casual clothing and the temperature dipped to -2 C. With the exception of a few scratches, the boy was found in good condition.

“To have a happy ending after something like that, it is the best outcome we can hope for when you get called to search for a child,” said Sparwood SAR Manager, Ed Ehrler. “We pull out all the stops and dedicate everything we can to it, it turned out to be a great day for us.”