Day of mushroom picking turns tragic

The story of the missing mushroom pickers has not turned out well.

Things turned tragic for a couple who were mushroom picking up the Kispiox Valley last week.

Clifford Hillis, 56, and Maxine George, 46, didn’t return home when they set out last week.

The New Hazelton RCMP were notified of the couple’s disappearance on Friday and were told the two had informed family at 1 p.m. Thursday via VHF radio that they were heading into the forest and planned to return by 6 p.m.

However, neither returned home and the Police Dog Service and Search and Rescue were called in but the exact location where the couple had entered the forest was unknown.

Late in the afternoon, George walked out of the bush onto a forest road approximately 60 kilometres north of Hazelton where she subsequently encountered a motorist. She appeared to have severe hypothermia and was taken to Wrinch Memorial Hospital in an ambulance where she is currently recovering. The general location where the couple had entered the forest was determined but unfortunately the active search had to be concluded due to darkness.

At first light on Saturday morning they resumed the search for Hillis and just after noon they located him, deceased. While it is believed by friends that Hillis succumbed to ongoing health issues and hypothermia and the matter has been turned over to the Coroner Service.

The RCMP want to remind people that if they are going out into the back country to be prepared with proper clothing, a survival kit and advise someone of your planned route of travel.