Body found in South Saskatchewan River near Broadway Bridge
It’s something completely out of the ordinary for fire crews after a training exercise evolved into an actual incident.
On Thursday by sheer happenstance, the Saskatoon Fire Department’s water rescue team spotted something concerning on the imagery during its second day of sonar training.
A dive team was deployed and the body of a 25-year-old man was brought to the surface of the South Saskatchewan River near the Broadway Bridge.
“It took about an hour to pinpoint what we believed to be a person in the water and at that time we were able to confirm that yes there was someone in the water at that location,” fire Chief Morgan Hackl said.
The young man’s next of kin have been notified and this will mark the first time a training exercise of this kind has concluded with a tragic ending.
“We’re constantly analyzing the bottom of the river – normally we find is different manmade products a shopping cart, a ladder whatever it may be.”
Foul play has been ruled out after an autopsy was conducted Friday morning. The man’s name is not being released.
In recent weeks, fire crews have responded to calls of people entering the river.
Witnesses reported a person fell off the Broadway Bridge and into the river on April 19.
Four days later a man was reported to be in distress in the middle of the river near Gabriel Dumont Park.
In both cases, emergency personnel responded but nobody was located.
“We had no missing persons’ report and he did not match the description of anybody who entered the water recently,” Saskatoon Police Service spokesperson Kelsie Fraser said.
The Air Support Unit scans the river every spring for anything suspicious within city limits and beyond. Fraser said when they did this, the team didn’t spot anything unusual.
As gruesome as it sounds, the Saskatchewan RCMP have also used a technique where they float a pig carcass down a body of water to see how far and how fast a body can travel.
What they’ve looked for is if there is any predictability to the water and the object’s final rest place – in the hopes it will lead them to answers and bring more families closure.
“What we have found through the few testing that we’ve done is it’s inconsistent,” RCMP Cpl. Rob King said.
“The flow of the river, the height of the water table matters and the temperature of the river matters – the river is constantly changing.”
As the river changes, RCMP said they’ll consider using the approach again.
As for fire crews, they don’t do deep dives without reason because the water is simply too dangerous.
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