Crews have been searching the Wood Buffalo area for four men missing since early last week. On April 26, RCMP said the effort was now a “recovery” operation.
Late Sunday night, RCMP confirmed the body of one of the four men had been recovered from the Rocher River.
Over the course of the week, the identities of the men were released, as well as the fact that three of the four were Canadian Rangers. Two of the men, Keith Marten and Andrew Ladoucer were 15-year members of the patrol, while Walter Ladoucer joined in 2016.
It was Walter Ladoucer’s body that was found Sunday.
According to police, the hunters left Fort Chipewyan in a boat on the Rocher River April 23.
The RCMP said it responded to a call about the missing hunters at about 12:30 p.m. the next day.
It’s believed the men were heading to an area near Fort Chipewyan known as Devil’s Gate. Their boat was later found in the river that flows through Wood Buffalo National Park.
In a release from the RCMP on Saturday, officials confirmed the three rangers were highly experienced outdoorsmen and were on their own personal time.
“My heartfelt condolences and prayers are very much with the families and loved ones of those lost,” said Lieut.-Col. Russ Meades in a release.
“Keith, Andrew and Walter were outstanding rangers and valuable community members. They served their community, and Canadians, with dedication, honour and pride.
“The loss of their experiences and knowledge of the environment will be deeply missed within the community, the patrol and the group.”
Up to 70 people in 30 boats — including a number of fellow rangers — have been assisting in the recovery efforts.
RCMP confirmed the Edmonton Medical Examiner’s Office will be conducting an autopsy on Ladoucer, however no date has been set.
— With files from Global’s Phil Heidenreich and Heide Pearson