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Community search underway for missing Tatamagouche-area senior

BALFRON - Willard McKay, 80, of Balfron who has been missing since Friday night, reportedly was seen at a residence around 10:30 p.m., an RCMP spokesman says.

A helicopter has been called into service in the effort to locate Willard McKay.

“Apparently he pulled into a New Annan residence looking for directions,” Const. Dal Hutchinson said. “Everybody over there knows him and didn’t think anything of it at the time.”

The RCMP initially reported that McKay was last seen at the Ocean Lanes Bowling and Sports Bar around 8 p.m.

But Hutchinson said later information revealed that he had been seen after that time when he stopped in New Annan to ask directions to another residence.

“He spoke with them in the driveway and turned back towards Tatamagouche.”

Hutchinson said McKay was alone in his vehicle and that he never arrived at the residence he was looking for.

McKay, who doesn’t drink alcohol, was well known for hanging around the bowling alley/bar and driving home people who had been drinking.

“It was nothing to see him out at midnight giving them a lift from the bowling alley or Big Al’s (tavern),” Hutchinson said.

An RCMP helicopter spent four hours on Tuesday searching a wide-ranging area over Wentworth, Debert, Nuttby, New Annan, Tatamagouche, Wallace and Brule.

And a large contingent of family, friends and others from the community are in the midst of a strategic search today of back roads in the area, he said.

People have also been sharing McKay’s picture and that of his vehicle across Canada on social media. Hutchinson is encouraging anyone with “even a little bit of information” to share that with police.

He said people have been inquiring why a ground search and rescue team has not been initiated but Hutchinson said they don’t have a last point of reference for McKay to begin from.

Concern has also been expressed for his absence because of some severe medical issues that he has been dealing with. 

McKay’s van is a grey, 2008 Dodge Caravan with Nova Scotia license plate CAV 017.

Twitter: @tdnharry

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