Just after lunch on a sunny afternoon in late March,
two year old Simon Pye was playing happily by the trampoline at his
grandfather's Moser River home.
Within minutes, he had disappeared from view and the family began
looking for him.
In the hour that followed, they had discovered Simon's
tracks leading into the dense brush behind the family home but were
unsuccessful in finding the toddler. Police were called to the scene
and arrived quickly.
Simon's parents, Sarah and Dana Pye were summoned in New Glasgow where
they had gone shopping.
By 4:00 pm that afternoon, several RCMP officers, a tracking dog,
First Responders from several fire and ambulance units and a Department
of Natural Resources heliocopter had begun searching.
Meanwhile, Simon, who had gone into the woods to 'find his daddy'
was heading further and further into the woods.
On the ground, the nearby communities mobilized. Word had spread quickly
up and down the Shore.
Over two hundred residents from the Sheet Harbour to
Sherbrooke area rushed to the scene to help in the search. At the
local Fire Hall, food preparations for for the volunteers had begun.
As if by magic, more and more food began arriving. Moser River women
hurriedly put together trays and trays of sandwiches and cake, megapots
of coffee and hot chocolate.
It would be dark in an hour and was turning cold.
Corporal Angela Corscadden of the Cole Harbour RCMP organized the
searchers into groups of twelve. It was a sea of orange hats, vests
and jackets. Wearing rubber boots and carrying compasses and flashlights,
they fanned out in lines covering several miles to comb through the
"Form lines at arm's length from each other", the Officer
had instructed. "If you come to an obstacle, a large tree for
example, stop the search line until you get around it. You have to
move as one unit. "
It was tough going in the low-lying brush and teams
got separated in spite of the plan, but they followed the final words
of instructions carefully. "Look up, look down, check under trees,
tree roots and rock piles. Look ahead, to the sides and behind you
at all times. "
Every ten minutes or so, radio checks could be heard from HQ at the
Dennis Tibert home. Searchers strained to hear over the sound of the
chopper droning incessantly overhead. Just as night was falling, word
spread through the search teams that Simon had been found. The voice
crackled through that he was "upright", meaning he was unhurt.
The chopper stopped circling and made a beeline for the woods in Necum
Teuch, the village just east of Moser River.
Over a mile back in the woods behind the village, Simon's uncle Joey
Moser and an older half brother on Team 4 held Simon close while they
waited for the helicopter to land.
"I found Simon hugging a tree at the edge of a large bog. He
was wet and very cold" the brother said.
Soon, Simon was in the helicopter and being lifted to HQ where he
was taken by ambulance to Eastern Shore Hospital in Sheet Harbour.
The boy had scratches from going through the thicket, but was otherwise
By 8:00 pm that night, Simon was tucked in bed, none
the worse for his ordeal.
"In the ambulance", said Simon's mother Sarah, "it
was like he was in a daze. I asked him were you scared? At first,
he said 'no' but later, he admitted that he was."
She was pale and looked exhausted. "On the way to Moser River
from New Glasgow, all kinds of things went through my head",
she said. "It was a long drive home and a very, very long day."