Resident finds missing man in backyard after city search
JOY Farquharson can't impress enough the importance of community members checking their backyards once an alert for a missing person is issued.
The McDougall St resident was intrigued at the sight of a lingering helicopter over Glenvale Sunday night, but was unaware about 25 emergency services personnel were scouring the bush for missing 84-year-old Ray Gibson.
"I checked all the sheds and had a look around the property but there was no sign of him," Mrs Farquharson said.
"So I thought I'd go down the back and I jumped the creek and went up through the gully and onto higher ground and there he was.
"He was just sitting down, looking at all the trees."
She said she was "extremely glad" Mr Gibson had been found safe and well, if not a bit confused.
"The helicopter would never have found him, just because of the colour of his clothing and his hair," she said.
"It blended in to the terrain and the search needed to be by someone on foot."
Mr Gibson's daughter Carolyn Creese spent yesterday at his bedside at the Toowoomba Hospital, but asked Glenvale Villas manager Gayle Gardiner to pass on her thanks to the community for their assistance.
"She says thanks to the police, the SES and all the volunteers who helped for her father and the community for their support and watching out for him," she said.
"The public involvement was a big help in finding her father."
Toowoomba City Patrol Group Inspector Mark Wheeler said it was the best possible outcome of the almost 24-hour search.
"He was found in a large paddock in Greenwattle St which was in the primary search area," Insp. Wheeler said.
"It was like a needle in a haystack with the colour of his clothing and the colour of the surrounding bushland.
"Well in excess of 25 people at various times were involved in the search."
Insp. Wheeler said he wasn't surprised Mr Gibson was found relatively close to the village.
"The thing is, when you're looking for just one person, they could be basically right in front of you and be either hiding or underneath something," he said.
"We're certainly not criticising anyone for him going missing, but what we will ask again in the future that the public help us the best they can and report any believed sightings.
"We ask them to go up and actually talk to the person because you need to treat these people as a father, grandfather or uncle."
Thermal imaging technology on board the Emergency Queensland helicopter was used Sunday night in the search for Mr Gibson.
The RACQ CareFlight helicopter also assisted yesterday morning.