The Kitimat River (Gerry Leibel photo)

Rescuers search for man whose boat capsized in the Kitimat River

Search and rescue say he hit a log jam going down the river

Rescuers are searching for a man who went missing while boating down the Kitimat River Saturday.

According to Kitimat Ground Search and Rescue manager Manny Arruda, searchers were dispatched just before 12:30 p.m.

“Four occupants on three different boats had capsized on the Kitimat River,” said Arruda.

“Three were accounted for and one was missing.”

Arruda said it appears that the boaters hit one of two log jams just a kilometre down the river from the Eighteen Mile Bridge.

“It goes right across the whole river. It’s totally unsafe for anybody to be launching from that Upper Kitimat Bridge,” said Arruda.

“There’s no way of getting around the log jams. You come around the corner and it’s right there.”

Six Kitimat searchers and eight Terrace swiftwater rescue team members, as well as Kitimat fire crews and RCMP searched the river until 9 p.m. Saturday but found no sign of the missing boater.

“We had a helicopter as well for dropping swiftwater off and for searching the bank, checking the shoreline to see if the person made it to shore,” said Arruda.

Arruda said that high water levels make it too dangerous to continue searching and that rescuers will have to wait till water levels drop later in the month.

“We did a fairly thorough search in and around that area,” Arruda said.

While rescuers don’t know for certain if the missing man was wearing a lifejacket, Arruda doesn’t believe so.

“There’s lots of people who go missing and the common thread is that they don’t have lifejackets on,” said Arruda.

Wearing one, he said, can give capsized boaters a “fighting chance,” and if worst comes to worst, it makes recovering the bodies easier for searches, giving families a sense of closure.


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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