BREAKING: Search for missing kayaker moves on land

ANTIGONISH: After finding a kayak and life jacket belonging to a missing man, searchers are now concentrating their search on land in Inverness County.

Cpl. Jennifer Clarke, media relations officer with the Nova Scotia RCMP, said the search for 32-year-old Jason William McGrath continued on Thursday with about 60 people on the ground aided by a Department of Natural Resources helicopter. She confirmed officers were searching in Judique Interval, where the lifejacket and kayak were found, on July 11.

According to the RCMP, McGrath left the Cape George area around noon on July 9. His kayak was located at approximately 5:30 p.m. Tuesday night on the western shore of Inverness County near Gillis Pond in Judique Interval.

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Antigonish and Inverness RCMP have been involved in the search with the assistance of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, Pictou and Strait Area Ground Search and Rescue, as well as RCMP Police Dog Services. An extensive ground search has been underway since 8 p.m. Tuesday night.

On July 11, McGrath’s brother Kevin made the following post on Facebook.

“I just got a call from the Coast Guard and they found Jason’s kayak and life jacket on the beach not far from Judique,” the post read.

“My little brother Jason was at our cottage on Sunday in Cape George and left in his modified kayak with a homemade sail made from a blue tarp. This kayak was not intended to have a sail. He had also added two large blue water jugs from a water cooler to aid in buoyancy. From speaking to the last person who saw him, we believe he intended to return Sunday afternoon but has not. Jason cannot swim and we are very concerned for his safety.”

McGrath is described as a white male, with light brown hair and hazel eyes. He is 5-foot-8 and 155 pounds. He was wearing a black t-shirt and beige shorts.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of McGrath is asked to contact Antigonish District RCMP at 902-863-6500. Those who wish to remain anonymous, can send tips to Crime Stoppers by calling toll-free 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submitting a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca or texting tip 202 plus a message to 274637.

The investigation is ongoing.