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Sep 7, 2020

Six Days Later, PC Bernard Ical is Found Alive and Well in Columbia Forest

Bernard Ical

There was a collective sigh of relief across Belize today when it was confirmed that Police Constable Bernard Ical was safe and alive. Ical found his way back to the Machaquila outpost this afternoon after two o’clock.  Teams from the police and B.D.F. as well as civilians set out in search for the P.C. who went missing last Wednesday while he was on a joint patrol with the B.D.F. The patrol was directed to return to the rendezvous point at San Jose Hawaii but Ical did not make it back. Since then, searches were launched in the dense and thick forests with no sight of him, but Ical managed to retrace the trek back to the base. Ical’s wife, Claudia, told News Five that he made previous trips to the area. Tonight, they are reunited.  Here is News Five’s Isani Cayetano with a report.

 

On the phone: Claudia Ical, Wife of PC Bernard Ical

“I’m very happy that they found him because I really need him back.  Thank God.  Thank God.  Chester Williams told me that he is in good condition.”

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A massive search and rescue operation to locate missing Police Constable Bernard Ical has ended successfully.  This morning, a search party made up of police, BDF and coast guard personnel, along with civilian trackers, descended once again on the Columbia Forest Reserve where Ical had been reported missing on September third.

 

On the phone: Claudia Ical

“I was worried and just confused.  I don’t know what to do, I was just confused, you know, and it’s very hard to lose someone.  He’s my husband, he’s the only person that was maintaining us.”

 

PC Ical, a member of the Special Patrol Unit, set out to traverse that vast expanse of wilderness along with a team of Belize Defense Force soldiers.  When it became apparent that Tropical Storm Nana was making landfall in southern Belize last Wednesday, the team was recalled from the area.  Everyone, with the exception of the SPU officer, made it back to the rendezvous point in San Jose.

 

ACP Joseph Myvett, Head, National Crimes Investigation Branch

ACP Joseph Myvett

“On August thirty-first, he was picked up from his home in San Roman Village in Stann Creek District and was taken to Fairweather Camp in PG where he was supposed to join a patrol on the first of September which would have lasted some fourteen or fifteen days.  We know that he did go on the patrol on the first of September and that patrol was directed to go in the area of Machaquila, deep in the southern jungles of Toledo.  When we next heard from the patrol, that was on Thursday afternoon when the police department became aware that Mr. Ical had somewhat gone missing from the patrol during some movement in preparation for the storm.”

 

Since then, the area had been combed by the search party.  Despite not finding any trace of Ical, the team of trackers persisted.  Earlier today, as many as seventy persons, including Minister of National Security Michael Peyrefitte and Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, returned to Machaquila Operation Post, the site where Ical went missing.

 

ACP Joseph Myvett

“This is his fourth trip, I believe, over the last four years going to that area.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So he’s familiar with the terrain.”

ACP Joseph Myvett

“Yes, he is.”

 

This afternoon, sometime around two o’clock, PC Ical was found alive and in good physical condition.  His wife, Claudia Ical, shared with News Five the emotional anguish that his family, including his five-year-old, has been going through in his absence.

 

On the phone: Claudia Ical

“My little girl was worried because she was crying, she wants to see her dad.  I told her that her that her daddy is coming back but it’s taking long for him to come back again.  That’s what I told her.”

 

Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.


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