Central Cariboo Search and Rescue Search was dispatched Friday morning to retrieve the body of a 58-year-old Vancouver man who died while on a rafting trip on the Chilcotin River west of Williams Lake.
On Wednesday, Sept. 14, the Williams Lake RCMP were notified at 10:21 p.m. that two rafters had failed to return at the expected time of 3 p.m. after rafting from the Bull Canyon Recreation Site toward Farwell Canyon and CCSAR personnel were activated.
Alexis Creek RCMP Sgt. Don Racette told the Tribune Friday that one of the men was located alive by CCSAR and the PEP AIR plane.
“The survivor got in the plane and directed search and rescue to the location of the deceased man so that they could at least have an idea and give us the co-ordinates,” Racette said. “That was good because we wouldn’t have known how far to go down to search the river.”
The deceased man’s body was located about 10.3 kilometers by land east of the Hanceville Bridge, Racette said, but because of the terrain it wasn’t possible to access the site by vehicle, horseback or ATV.
Attempts to reach the body on Thursday by boat were made difficult because of rough conditions on the river.
“We even had Fisheries and Oceans out to try and assist us,” Racette said. “They could only make it so far down the river and they had to turn back because it was too rough. They said the water was too shallow in spots, rocky and too fast.”
The two men were not with a rafting company, just on their own, he said.
“One was a somewhat experienced rafter, and one was not an experienced rafter is what I have been told,” Racette said. “Unfortunately there was a tragedy.”
Police have been in contact with the family of the deceased who had family living relatively close by.
“I am very thankful the body was recovered so the family can have closure,” Racette added.
Police are looking for any information from the public who may have been on the river at the time.
“They can contact the Alexis Creek RCMP at 250-394-4211 and ask for me or Const. James Bannister who is leading the investigation.”