NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — A North Smithfield man reported missing Wednesday has been found, according to authorities.
Philip Emond, 62, was found lying face-down in a wooded area near someone’s home, according to North Smithfield Fire Chief David Chartier.
Chartier said it appeared Emond spent the night there with no jacket, blanket or food, but despite that, he was found to be in good condition.
Emond was taken to the hospital to be evaluated.
“It’s just shy of a miracle,” Chartier said. “The condition he’s in is actually baffling. It’s a great thing.”
Emond’s family reported him missing after he wandered away from his Mattity Road home Wednesday afternoon.
“He was confused. My mom lost track of him for like 5 to 10 minutes, just trying to do something, and he was gone,” his son Kyle Emond said.
Volunteers and roughly 50 first responders from area departments searched for Emond through the night and into Thursday morning. Helicopters, ATVs and K-9 units were also involved in the search.
Kyle Emond said he was in disbelief when he heard his father had been found.
“I was losing hope once it approached midnight and there was no trace of him,” Kyle Emond recalled. “Considering all that, I didn’t think he had a shot, but my dad’s a pretty tough guy and thank God he pulled through.”
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North Smithfield Police Chief Tim Lafferty thanked all of the departments and residents who helped search for Emond.
“It’s what you want in these instances,” Lafferty said. “It was a great collaborative effort by all the organizations that helped in this incident.”
Chartier said tips from the public helped them narrow down their search.
“The single most important thing that we got was information from the public,” Chartier said. “We had one tip from a woman who identified this gentleman as crossing Route 7 just up the road and described him down to a T and put him on this side. That tip is what put us over here.”
“These kind of operations take a toll on personnel because when they get here, they have a mission of a good outcome. As time goes on, sometimes we hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” he added. “It’s refreshing to see we can stand in front of everybody here and let them know that their efforts truly made a difference.”