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Discovery of riderless horse prompts search for missing B.C. 'cowboy'
A horse is shown in this file photo. (Edward Castro/Pexels)
Mounties are searching for a man they're describing as a missing cowboy after a riderless horse was located by loggers near Merritt, B.C.
The horse, which was in full gear, was discovered Monday morning, and local ranchers were able to identify its owner.
The 32-year-old man works on a ranch but had been on his days off, so his disappearance hadn't been noted. A manager at the ranch identified him to The Canadian Press as Ben Tyner.
He was last seen Saturday afternoon, Merritt RCMP said in a statement. They believe he'd been riding in the backcountry, but his planned route and time of departure are unknown.
Mounties are working with Nicola Valley Search and Rescue and several other groups to track down the horse's owner.
Snowmobiles, drones, helicopters and police dogs were involved in the search efforts, as well as about 40 search and rescue members from Nicola Valley and nearby teams.
Logging company staff, members of the Lower Nicola Indian Band and ranchers on horseback also volunteered.
They're concentrating search efforts on the hills northwest of Merritt after learning Tyner often used his day off to search that area for cattle belonging to the ranch.
"Due to active logging in the area and herds of wild horses, finding track for the rider has been hindered and Search and Rescue is still unaware of the missing male’s destination so continue to search the area," Mounties said.
"Members of the public are asked to not participate in lone searching as it may interfere in search and rescues efforts, but if anyone has any information or may have seen a male riding in the Swakum Ridge area of Merritt Saturday or Sunday, they are asked to contact the Merritt RCMP."
With files from The Canadian Press