Elderly walker goes missing

2011-02-28 00:00

A LARGE-scale search was launched at the weekend after an 82-year-old man went missing while walking his dog in Prestbury on Saturday afternoon.

Lewis Stone left his home in Gladstone Road at around 5 pm, parked opposite the Prestbury police station in Zwartkop road, and took his German Shepherd Misha for a walk.

He was reportedly last seen sitting at the stream near the police station watching Misha run around.

But when he had not returned home at 7.45 pm, his concerned wife Margaret raised the alarm. An initial search revealed no sign of either Stone or his dog. Stone worked at Hulamin as an engineer before retiring.

Yesterday the area buzzed with people searching on foot, bicycles and motorbikes, while others in 4x4s combed the plantations and the area around Ashby Road.

Described as a fit man who often walks his dog in the area, Stone was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, a bright yellow cap and walking shoes when he disappeared.

His daughter-in-law Alison Stone said warrant officer Jack Haskins of the K9 Search and Rescue Unit came immediately with his dog Udain and began searching the plantations. She praised both Haskins and the Prestbury police for their diligence in the search for her father-in-law. “The police have been phenomenal.”

Her husband Nigel enlisted the help of the motorbike fraternity who ride the Dusi route each year, to help in the search. “They have combed every area we could think to search. But we can’t find him,” said Alison yesterday.

Stone’s bakkie was still parked outside the police station.

“It’s beyond belief. The more people who know he is missing the better.”

Haskins said the search continued all Saturday night and yesterday. A police helicopter arrived from Durban yesterday to perform an aerial search, but this was to no avail.

Friends and relatives gathered yesterday awaiting any news of Stone. Some were grubby from having helped with the search in the plantations and from climbing down into drains to look there. News came yesterday afternoon that a German Shepherd had been seen up in the plantations, but it ran off when they tried to approach it, and later attempts to find the dog were unsuccessful. “If its owner is hurt or lost, the dog will be terrified and won’t come out,” said Alison Stone.

The search continued late yesterday, widening to the area around the Botanical Gardens. It will resume again today.

Police yesterday appealed to anyone who may have seen Stone or who may have any information about his whereabouts to contact Haskins on 082 446 1930.

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