Search for missing boater appears to be over
Published Sunday, October 7, 2012 11:10AM MDT
Last Updated Monday, October 8, 2012 5:49PM MDT
The search for a missing boater from Calgary appears to be over as rescuers pulled a body from a reservoir in southwestern Alberta on Monday.
The 28-year-old man was boating over the weekend near the shores of the Pine Coulee Reservoir west of Stavely when the boat he was in capsized.
RCMP say that when the boat the flipped in the strong wind, people panicked
“They didn’t know what to do and just started swimming,” Cst. Dillon Rochon with the RCMP said.
They say neither of the men in the boat were wearing lifejackets but tried to grab them when they went overboard.
One man managed to get his and was able to swim to shore.
Crews say they were faced with a number of challenges in the search.
First, they didn’t exactly know where to begin looking because the survivor the incident was in hospital and couldn’t answer questions.
Once he got to the area on Sunday, he could help guide the search but valuable time had already been lost.
The procedure itself was also challenging because the bottom of the reservoir has standing barbed wire fences, a remnant from when the area was farmland and not a man-made body of water.
With those in place, boats were unable to drag the bottom to uncover clues and there are countless obstructions.
Searchers relied heavily on sonar to get a look under the water.
The boat and its contents were found on Sunday, but winds hindered their efforts on finding the man.
The reservoir is up to 30 meters deep in some areas and several kilometers long.
Emergency crews including RCMP officers, the Lethbridge Police Service Dog unit, the Lethbridge Fire Department Dive Team and firefighters from Stavely, Nanton, Claresholm and Fort Macleod, attended the scene.
The identity and age of the boater will only be released once the body has been properly identified.