Grand Forks man missing in Kettle River
What started as a pleasant day of canoeing in the Kettle River has ended in tragedy for two men from Grand Forks. On Saturday, June 12 the two men launched their canoe south of Beaverdell into the river. Later a passing motorist was flagged down by one of the men saying that this friend was missing in the river. The one man had swam to shore and made his way to the highway seeking help.
Police and search units from Grand Forks, Penticton and the Central Okanagan were dispatched to the scene and conducted a search in the area until darkness. The canoe was located and has since been removed from a log jam with no sign of the missing man.
Search efforts continued through from Sunday until today with no results. The RCMP has been using both helicopter and swift water rescue technicians from Nelson for the search, said Staff Sergeant Jim Harrison of the Grand Forks Detachment.
“On Monday the swift water techs from Nelson, there was eight of them, came in and did all the water as best they could, but again, nothing. Today, we’ve done another helicopter search and nothing,” said Harrison.
Missing is a 40-year-old resident of Grand Forks. Harrison said that next-of-kin has not yet been found and that they are not releasing the man’s identity until they can be notified.
Indications are that the trip was planned as just a canoe ride on the river, but Harrison said that the men were not wearing life jackets and had no swift water experience.
“As far as I know they didn’t have any experience with swift water canoeing or kayaking,” said Harrison. “The swift water techs were telling us the rapids in that area are what are called class five rapids – extremely hazardous and actually considered non-navigable. So safety was a big issue.”