Mounties in North Cowichan/Duncan continued their search efforts to find a Cobble Hill husband and father who was reported missing Wednesday.

A search was launched for 41-year-old Ben Kilmer after his van was found running on Cowichan Lake Road near Menzies Road with his personal belongings still inside.

Crews stepped up their search efforts on Thursday, with active personnel growing to 60 members from Cowichan Search and Rescue, Ladysmith, Juan De Fuca, Nanaimo and the Saanich Peninsula.

A helicopter also launched Thursday searching a five-kilometre area around Menzies Road and Cowichan Lake Road.

"We put trackers into the field [Wednesday] evening. The following morning we proceeded with open grid searches, we had the dog teams out. That carried through into the night," said Tina Phillips, search manager for Cowichan Valley Search and Rescue. "We're out here now in the third operational period."

Searchers set out Friday to look for Kilmer in the area of Skutz Falls and nearby hiking trails.

"I just more than anything feel sorry for the family," said area resident Robert McKenzie. "I'm just hopeful that there's a good outcome and I'm happy to see so many people here."

Kilmer's wife issued a public Facebook statement earlier this week saying she and their two children are desperate to find him.

"This man, as you can see from our many backpacking pictures, is so strong! He has saved many lives, including mine scuba diving and his dad's out in the bush," she wrote. "We believe that he is hurt but still may have covered a large distance. We believe that he went into a forested from his van towards the Cowichan River. We believe that he has fallen and may be on a ledge, or an incline and may be near a distinct light grey boulder."

The post has been shared more than 7,000 times.

Mounties issued a release on Friday saying they had sufficient resources in the search and didn't require further public assistance, other than the public keep an eye out for Kilmer on walks or hikes.

Search and rescue is also asking homeowners in the area who may have been out of town recently to check any outbuildings on their properties for signs of Kilmer.

Kilmer is described as 5'7", 205 pounds with short brown hair and blue eyes. He is clean-shaved and was last seen wearing light-coloured pants, a black shirt and steel-toe boots.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call RCMP at 250-748-5522 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.