‘I’m alive, Mom, I love you’: Cowichan mom overwhelmed with joy after missing son found safe

CHEK

Diana Weld could hardly believe the text she received on her phone Sunday.

Her 19-year-old son Owen Weld, who had been missing for four days in the wilderness beyond Lake Cowichan, messaged, ‘I’m alive, Mom, I love you.'”

“It’s amazing, it’s overwhelming,” Weld told CHEK News on Monday.

According to Weld, her 19-year-old son had just started a new job when he got into his small SUV on Wednesday, Feb. 14, to go for a relaxing drive.

He and his Rav4 were captured on surveillance video on Lake Cowichan’s South Shore Road that afternoon, and were searchers’ only clue to go on when he didn’t return home that night.

“I just knew that something was not right and I knew that he intended to come home. So that night we reported to the police that he was missing,” said Weld.

“And then it got to be a big situation very quickly,” said Corina Fitznar, a family friend and the volunteer search coordinator for “Find Owen Weld’.

Hundreds of searchers joined in, from trained search and rescue crews to family and friends, and covered vast swaths of Vancouver Island’s backcountry. Drones and a helicopter were launched into the air, and boaters were on the water.

When day after day went by, Weld says she began fearing the worst.

“I was thinking nothing good was going to come from our efforts,” said Weld.

‘We’re just so thankful’

At 6 p.m. Sunday, a truck full of campers who were driving on Caycuse Main saw a man walking on the remote roadside and stopped to help.

Soon, they learned it was a disoriented and injured Owen Weld. Four days after he had gone missing, the campers drove him into Lake Cowichan where RCMP were waiting to take him to hospital.

“He’s absolutely overwhelmed and we’re just so thankful,” said Weld.

According to Weld, her son recalls crashing off the road on Wednesday after hitting a washout. His phone shows he tried calling for help, but there was no signal.

“He tried calling 911 at 6:42 on Wednesday night and there’s like six or nine attempts,” said Weld.

So for four days, injured and suffering a concussion, Weld survived on creek water and stayed in his truck at night. Sunday he decided to try to find help.

“He figures he walked about 15 kilometres and some campers found him,” said Weld.

“And then (we) got a phone call that he’s been found,” said Fitznar.

Weld says her son is suffering a concussion and having flashbacks about being trapped in the woods, but is also overwhelmingly grateful to those who tried to find him.

His release from hospital Monday made for a Family Day like no other.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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