Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 12, 2013

Officials continue search

Hunter still missing after day of searching concludes

By ANNE ELGIN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

CEDAR BLUFF, Va. —

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The Cedar Bluff Fire Department served as the staging area Monday for multiple search and rescue teams, volunteers and local authorities as they continued their search for a missing hunter.

Trucks full of volunteers gathered at the fire station in the early afternoon hours to fuel up on water and a hot meal before heading back out to continue the search.

Eric Smith, 41, of Cedar Bluff, has been missing since Friday. Smith’s wife reported him missing around 8 p.m. that evening after he did not return from a day of hunting.

According to Cedar Bluff Police Chief David Mills, “Smith was hunting on acreage that he owns, but we have been searching a wider area than that — Claypool Hill to Richlands.”

Mills said officials were searching around 40 acre swipes at a time.

 “Console Energy has volunteered their search and rescue team, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fishers, local police and fire departments, state police and tons of volunteers are also searching,” Mills said.

Smith was a large part of the community, Mills said.

“We have had a ton of community support, many people are volunteering their time to search and others are donating food and water,” Mills said.

Smith was last seen wearing all camouflage hunting clothes and was on foot. He doesn’t have a cell phone with him, but had been complaining of symptoms of pneumonia.

“Smith has hunted all his life and knows the area very well, as of right now we are treating this as a possible hunting accident,” Mills said.

The search was called off at around 6 p.m. Monday evening, but will continue this morning.

— Contact Anne Elgin at aelgin@bdtonline.com