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Man missing after trying to rescue his dog from the waters of the Kootenay River

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
August 2nd, 2020

RCMP and local search and rescue crews completed another day searching the Kootenay River after a man was swept away Thursday afternoon, while attempting to rescue his dog.

On July 30, shortly before 3:30 p.m., Columbia Valley RCMP received information that a man had been suddenly swept down river after he entered the water in an effort to rescue his dog. The man was recreating with his family near the Canal Flats area when the tragic incident unfolded.

The victim was reportedly walking around a sand bar in the river, when his dog became caught up in the rivers current when it attempted to swim over to him, said 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.

RCMP immediately called upon area Search and Rescue crews for support and launched a search of the water. An aerial search was conducted and the river banks were searched by both SAR technicians and a RCMP Police Dog Services team.

RCMP divers, with the Underwater Recovery Team (URT), and search and rescue personnel returned to the scene Friday morning to resume their search which proved challenging due to river conditions.

All possible efforts to safely locate and rescue the 43-year-old Edmonton man have been exhausted. The difficult decision to suspend the search has been made in consultation with search and rescue experts, swift water rescue technicians and RCMP divers. Officials will continue to monitor the river level and 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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