RCMP divers recover missing swimmer from West Kootenay lake

SAR deployed; RCMP divers locate and aid in the recovery of a missing swimmer

Photo: Trip Advisory

Photo: Trip Advisory

The body of a 72-year-old Fruitvale man was recovered from Champion Lake last week.

The senior was first reported missing on June 26 just before 4:30 p.m.

The Trail and Greater District RCMP report he was last seen swimming in the waters of Champion Lake at approximately 2:30 p.m. that day.

RCMP immediately contacted and deployed South Columbia Search and Rescue (SAR) in an effort to locate the missing swimmer.

Despite an extensive search conducted by boat and by helicopter, coupled with ground searches of the shoreline and local trails, the missing man was not located, RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey reported.

The following day local authorities consulted with the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team, who sent a team of specially trained divers into the region on Monday, June 28, to further search Champion Lake.

The RCMP Underwater Recovery Team immediately undertook an active sonar grid search of the lake.

That afternoon, at around 3 p.m., divers located and recovered the missing man’s body from a depth of about 15 meters.

The BC Coroners Service was notified and has launched its own fact-finding investigation into the man’s death.

RCMP do not believe any criminality was involved and continues to support the BC Coroners Service in its ongoing investigation.

The identity of the deceased will not be released out of respect for his privacy, as per the coroner’s act.

“The RCMP wishes to express its condolences to the man’s family for their loss of a loved one,” Cpl. O’Donaghey added.

“We would also like to thank all SAR personnel with the South Columbia Search and Rescue and all those who aided in the search of the area.”

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