Despite the best intentions, the RCMP said those pushing Coquitlam Search and Rescue to resume looking for a lost hiker with hundreds of comments may be doing more harm than good.
After the search for missing hiker Ali Naderi was called off on Monday, police report a social media campaign reportedly started pushing for Coquitlam Search and Rescue to resume looking.
“Seven days of exhaustive searching did not find Ali Naderi, but investigators in the Coquitlam RCMP’s Missing Persons Unit (MPU) continue to follow every tip and lead about the missing hiker,” police wrote in a release. “Meanwhile, the RCMP is concerned that a social media campaign targeting the Coquitlam Search and Rescue (SAR) Instagram page with hundreds of posts could hamper the team’s operations.”
Authorities say they understand the impulse to want the search to continue.
Police are still working hard to find Ali Naderi, but a social media campaign asking Search and Rescue volunteers to restart the physical search is not proving helpful: https://t.co/tHOgbUIPlT pic.twitter.com/igE0JhZrfs
— CQ RCMP (@cqrcmp) September 3, 2020
“It’s not a decision that they make on their own, according to Corporal Michael McLaughlin with Coquitlam RCMP.
“RCMP worked closely with SAR from the beginning,” he said in the release. “We agreed that it did not make sense to continue the physical search after seven days.”
For this reason, they are “asking people to keep the SAR social media channels free.”
Coquitlam SAR is reportedly assisting with two other searches on Friday alone, and police will continue to work on Naderi’s disappearance “until he is found.”
The current Instagram post with Naderi’s picture has had commenting turned off, but photos provided by the RCMP show 670 comments on the post to Coquitlam SAR’s account under the photo.
The previous search for the man reportedly consisted of 183 trained volunteers who did 2,400 hours of searching. GPS, drones, helicopters, and search dogs were all used.
“The searchers saturated 48,000 square meters of trail. Each extra day of searching included entering riskier terrain with less certainty that they were looking in the right direction,” the release said.
Adding that if new information were to surface that points to Naderi’s location, a search could resume based on specific tips.
Naderi went missing on the trails near Coquitlam’s Eagle Mountain on August 23.
He is described as a 52-year-old Persian man, with black, salt and pepper hair that curls over his ears, and brown eyes, standing 178 cm (5’10″) and weighing 80 kg (176 lb).
Police said he was last seen wearing dark-coloured shorts, a dark-coloured, lightweight hiking jacket, and carrying hiking poles.
Anyone with information is asked to call the RCMP’s non-emergency number at 604-945-1550 and ask for the Missing Person’s Unit (file 2020-22677).