Saint John — An American tourist who was reported missing in June was found yesterday, alive and well in Public Landing. John Abbott, from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had gone missing when his cruise ship, the Vanguard Explorer, docked in Saint John on June 15 for the day. The 57-year-old South Dakotan said that he left the ship looking for the Reversing Falls, but became confused when he asked a local man for directions.
“He said something about not knowing what street it was on, but that it was over by where the old Simms factory used to be,” said Abbott, “and that if I got to the AQ, I’d be too far.”
He had started on his way, but quickly got turned around utterly lost. He was helped by another local who explained that he was on his way to the Old General Hospital and that he should really head to where the old Sears building was before heading over to the Falls. Too embarrassed to ask for further directions, he made his way as best he could until he found himself by the river in Public Landing. “By then, I knew that I was lost enough that I’d probably miss the ship’s departure.”
RCMP Constable Alan Carter found the tourist wandering around the Public Landing waterfront asking for directions to Centracare. “Other than being a little cold and hungry,” said Const. Carter, “he was in good spirits. He did mention that he couldn’t understand why it was called ‘uptown’ and not ‘downtown,’ but I put that down to shock.” Following a warm meal at the hands of the RCMP, Abbott will be put on a flight later today to Toronto and then to his home in South Dakota to be reunited with his anxious family.
Sandra Vergelden, a spokesperson for Vanguard Tours, said this is a common occurrence for tourists on cruise ships docking in Saint John. “Last year alone we had 17 people get lost from misunderstanding directions,” she said, “ and it’s starting to become a real issue for us. From this year, we’ve started informing cruise ship passengers that if they get lost in Saint John, they should ask for directions to the old sugar refinery. In our experience, that has been the most reliable way of getting them all back to the ship in time.”