Missing Manitoba hiker's family pleads for help

Missing Manitoba hiker's family pleads for help

In the absence of answers, the Freiheit family is holding onto hope that their brother and son, 32-year-old Jeffrey Freiheit is alive, and could possibly be lost in the Alps, and be found soon. 

“We won’t give up. And we’re doing whatever it takes. Today, my mom hired a private helicopter,” said Amanda Devigne, Freiheit’s younger sister. 

Freiheit, a physical education teacher from Brandon, set out on July 31 to hike for 24 days through the Alps between Munich and Venice. He posted on Instagram on August 2, but hasn’t been heard from since. 

Volunteers, German police and now Austrian police are searching from the air and ground, using helicopters, drones and search and rescue dogs. 

“My mom specifically has said they’re doing the best that they can with what they have. We just need more help,” Devigne said.

While Devigne said she is grateful and appreciative of all of the resources and help her family has received thus far, she’s asking for more help from the Canadian government because she believes time is critical. 

On Friday, Devigne and her father visited the offices of Winnipeg MPs Jim Carr and MaryAnn Mihychuk and also sent a letter to the Prime Minister’s office asking for the Canadian Armed Forces to be involved with the search to bring Freiheit home. Devigne said office staff at both MPs’ offices told them the information has reached Ottawa and the Prime Minister’s office. 

“Whether that is man power or additional search and rescue aid or additional technology that hasn’t been used, anything, I don’t really know what it is but anything that our Canadian government can provide to help with this,” Devigne said. 

When CTV News asked Global Affairs on Tuesday how the Canadian government was helping, a spokesperson with Global Affairs said Canadian consular officials in Munich are working with local authorities to gather information and are providing consular services to the family.

“Due to the provisions of the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed,” the spokesperson said. 

While Freiheit’s mother and wife are now in Germany helping with the search effort, his sister and father remained in Winnipeg to help coordinate efforts from here. 

Devigne said the hardest part is not knowing. 

“We don’t know if he’s for sure just hurt or if it’s worse or if he’s lost. We just know that regardless of the situation, we need to find him and we need to find him now,” Devigne said. 

Published at Sat, 18 Aug 2018 20:12:57 -0400