| Jul 28, 2005

Feature article, July 28, 2005

Feature article July 28, 2005

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Man found safe after eight days in the bush near Machesney Lake

by Jeff Green

It was like finding a needle in a haystack, was how Gary Wilson described his reaction to finding his son Davids car in a laneway off Machesney Lake road on July 20. Less than 24 hours later, David was found at the edge of the bush not far from the laneway by a member of the OPP Emergency Response Team.

The rescue ended an eight-day ordeal for David Wilson of Nepean, and for his father Gary. Gary realised that David was missing late on July 13. He had no information about Davids whereabouts, and reported him missing to the Ottawa police. Police and family then spent the next 7 days searching every walking trail and forest access road in the Ottawa vicinity, to no avail.

After a week of searching, Gary Wilson had run out of places to look. So he decided to drive out to Hwy. 41 and look around some of the lakes where he used to go fishing with his son years ago.


I was grasping at straws. It was a long shot, but I was just sitting here stewing, so I thought I might as well try, he said in a telephone interview this week from his home in Nepean.

Gary Wilson headed out early in the morning on July 20, and spent the entire day driving up and down small roads into Little Cedar Lake, Kashwakamak and Mississagagon, where he hade gone fishing with his son years ago.

Its been five or six years since we came to the area, but I went to as many places as I could remember, said Gary Wilson.

At about 4 oclock in the afternoon, just as he was getting ready to stop for supper, Gary Wilson drove down one last small lane off Mchesney Lake Road and found his sons red Dodge Caravan.

In his van I found his compass, a hat, and a jacket - all the things Ive told him to keep with him when walking in the bush, Gary Wilson recalls.

He then headed over to Bon Echo Park, the nearest land phone line, and phoned the Ottawa OPP to tell them he had found the car, and to get a search team to Bon Echo Park right away.

Within an hour a search and rescue team arrived and a search continued until dark.

The next morning a large scale search involving members of the Kaladar OPP Detachment, three Canine Units, Emergency Response Team members and the S.A.V.E. Unit commenced on Thursday morning. A military helicopter from CFB Petawawa also attended to assist with the search.

Members of Emergency Response Team located fresh footprints in an area 1.5 kms from where the van was parked. Dave Wilson was located in that vicinity a short time later by two members of the SAVE Unit.

Miraculously, he was in good health.

He was black and blue from the waist up from insect bites, and his feet were, and still are, terribly blistered, but other than that he is ok, said a happy Gary Wilson.

Wilson said that OPP officials have told him that nine days is the record amount of time for someone to be lost in the woods and survive. David Wilson survived during his ordeal by eating berries and drinking stream water. He lost about 25 pounds.

Right now its 20 minutes soaking his feet in salt water and two hours with his feet up, said Gary Wilson, and when his feet are healed up the whole thing will be done.

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