An all-out search effort by Edgartown police, fire, EMS and others Monday evening helped successfully locate an 88-year-old man who had become lost near his home in the Oyster Pond area, police said.

Edgartown police chief Bruce McNamee said his department received a report of a missing person at 7:06 p.m. after the man, who is not being named, did not return to his house after taking out the trash.

Weather conditions were mild with extremely dense fog.

Chief McNamee said the first responding officers searched the residence, nearby buildings and grounds of the missing person’s property, but could not locate the man. Officers then requested assistance from the Edgartown fire department, the Massachusetts state police and the Dukes County sheriff’s department.

Police also requested assistance from the state police search helicopter as well as a Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter, but both were unavailable for deployment due to the low ceiling, Chief McNamee said.

Chief McNamee said a part-time police officer training course was taking place in the state forest behind the high school at the time. Eight full-time Island police officers who were teaching the course as well as their 15 students were dispatched from the training area to a command post on Oyster Pond Road to help with the search efforts, the chief said.

The Salvation Army also arrived on the scene and set up a canteen trailer with provisions for those involved in the search efforts. “In the event that this had turned out to be a longer search, those kinds of things are great to keep everyone’s morale up. Searching is exhausting so we very much appreciate their support,” Chief McNamee said.

In addition to the reinforcements, a neighbor offered the use of a UTV (utility terrain vehicle) for the search efforts. And after about two hours of searching, at 9:22 p.m., the missing man was located in the woods of a neighboring property and brought back to his residence. Chief McNamee said EMTs found the man in good health and good spirits, and he declined transport to the hospital.

Chief McNamee praised the wide-ranging effort.

“The fog was really, really heavy. The garbage cans are a ways away from the house and with the heavy fog he couldn’t see the lights of his house anymore and he walked off in the opposite direction. It’s just pitch black in that area,” Chief McNamee said.

“It was a terrific team effort,” he concluded.

“The Edgartown police want to thank everyone that made themselves available to make this a successful rescue.”

— Aaron Wilson