VIDEO (above): RCMP divers spent the day searching for three young men – missing since their canoe overturned on Slocan Lake. The group got into trouble just 150 meters from shore and none of the victims was wearing a life jacket. Tanya Beja reports.
A 19-year-old female is dead and three young males are missing after a canoeing accident in Slocan Lake in the West Kootenay region, according to New Denver RCMP.
RCMP aren’t officially calling it a recovery mission yet, but dive teams are expected to join a search effort in Slocan Lake today.
The call came in at 5:45 p.m. Saturday that two people were holding onto a partially submerged canoe in Slocan Lake, according to Sgt. Darryl Little from the Central Kootenay RCMP.
The canoe was about 150 metres away from the shore. Slocan Lake Search and Rescue were sent to the scene and found an unconscious female in the canoe but could not locate the other three people.
The female, who is from New Denver, was taken to hospital but died overnight. Family friends have identifed her as Lily Harmer-Taylor.
Dan Nicholson, who lived with Harmer-Taylor since September, said she was just about to graduate high school and had plans to backpack across the country.
He said she was a wonderful kid, who was “vibrant and alive.”
According to Nicholson, New Denver residents Harmer-Taylor and her boyfriend Jule Wiltshire-Padfield, 15, along with Hayden Kyle. 21, and Gibsons-born Skye Donnet, 18, took his canoe Saturday from Rosebury to a beach in New Denver.
Nicholson says they were all dear friends who would come over to his place whenever they needed a place to stay. Kyle had recently got a job as an electrician and Donnet was working in construction.
GALLERY: One dead, three missing after accident on Slocan Lake
RCMP said none of the canoeists were wearing life jackets and police cannot confirm if there were any in the canoe at the time of the incident.
According to Nicholson, they were just about to canoe back to Rosebury when the accident happened. He said the group may have been drinking.
The search for the three people were suspended Saturday night due to darkness.
Crews resumed the search at 6 a.m. Sunday morning, focusing around the Bigelow Bay area of Slocan Lake. RCMP said the conditions of the lake at the time of the incident were good and the water was calm.
The lake is extremely cold and is approximately 75 metres deep where the canoe was found submerged.
Andrew Neilson, principal of Lucerne Elementary Secondary School said counselling services will be available at the school Sunday, and if needed, additional counselling services from neighbouring communities will be brought in.
“The important thing to remember is that the school and district are working together to ensure the safety and comfort of students,” Neilson said.
With files from the Canadian Press