Search suspended for missing man who was swept away in river

Man swept away in river

Columbia Valley RCMP along with search and rescue crews spent Friday searching the Kootenay River for a man who was swept away while trying to rescue his dog on Thursday.

RCMP received information just before 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, that a man had suddenly been swept away in the river near the Canal Flats area.

"The victim was reportedly walking around a sand bar in the river, when his dog became caught up in the river's current when it attempted to swim over to him," says Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesperson for the BC RCMP Southeast District. 

"The victim tried to reach his dog, when he suddenly lost his footing, fell into the water and failed to resurface. The family’s dog survived and managed to swim back to shore."

Immediately following the incident, RCMP called for search and rescue crews while launching a search of the water. SAR technicians and RCMP Police Dog Services conducted the search.

RCMP divers with the Underwater Recovery Team along with search and rescue personnel returned to the scene of the incident on Friday to resume the search however river conditions were deemed challenging.

All efforts to locate and rescue the 43-year-old man from Edmonton have been exhausted and the search has been suspended. Officials are going to monitor river levels, conduct periodic shoreline searches and aerial searches as conditions permit.

"I'm extremely grateful to all the agencies and local residents who supported our search efforts, including Columbia Valley SAR, Kimberly SAR, the Cranbrook SAR search dog, the Canal Flats Fire Department, BC Emergency Health Services, Coldstream Helicopters and our very own RCMP Victim Services," says Sgt. Darren Kakuno, detachment commander of the Columbia Valley RCMP. 

"Our search to date has involved twenty swift water SAR technicians, three jet boats, a police dog team, a SAR dog team, an unmanned aerial vehicle, underwater rovers and cameras, a helicopter and the RCMP’s dive team. Local residents continued to drop off food and water for searchers, which was greatly appreciated."

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