Community joins search for woman, dog who went missing during Kelowna flooding

A community search organized by the family of a missing Kelowna. B.C. woman drew a crowd of 150 volunteers Saturday to the area near the creek where it is feared she may have been swept away by fast-moving floodwaters.

Chelsea Cardno, 31, was last seen Tuesday when she left her home on Dougal Road South. Police said she’d left to walk her German shepherd, JJ, near the Mission Greenway. City officials declared a state of emergency Tuesday afternoon, as heavy rainfall and melted snow caused water levels in the Mission Creek and other waterways to rise to dangerous levels with strong currents.

In the intervening days, efforts by the RCMP and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue have been unsuccessful in locating Cardno. Dangerous conditions in the area led to a pause in the search on Friday.

Cardno’s step-sister, Suzy Harrison, says the weather had improved enough by Saturday for the search, which was organized with and supported by SAR teams, to proceed.

The turnout was more than anyone had hoped for.

“It’s overwhelming and surreal. With everything that’s going on in the world today and how callous people can be to one another, it kind of restores your view of humanity,” Harrison told CTV News.

“There are people out there that truly care for another human being, whether they knew them or not.”

While the search did not locate Cardno or yield any new clues as to where she may be, Harrison says the sheer number of people who pitched in meant they covered much more ground than they had planned.

A Facebook page dedicated to the search has also received an influx of support from people who could not be there to search but wanted to help in other ways. Harrison says the family is redirecting anyone offering to donate to the family to make a contribution to the volunteer-run Central Okanagan Search and Rescue instead “because they need the money.”

The outpouring from people with a desire to help and comfort the family was, according to Harrison, a fitting way to honour who Cardno is.

“She has a very bright, bubbly personality. She always wanted to help other people and make sure that they had a good laugh or to bring a bright smile to their face,” she said.

“I do remember when we were younger … she would do the silliest things just to cheer you up.”

Harrison says there is not currently another community-led search planned but that people in the area can help by keeping their eyes open and distributing posters and flyers.

“If you find anything, report it. But please stay safe out there,” Harrison says.

Cardno is described as 4’11” and 108 pounds. She has brown hair and blond highlights and was last seen wearing a blue or grey hat, red puffy jacket, sweatpants and black lace-up style boots.

Anyone who may have seen Cardno or her dog should call Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.

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