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Police, fire crews search for missing person on Ottawa River in Britannia

Ottawa police and fire crews are searching for 48-year-old David Stewart, who was reported missing late Thursday morning.
Ottawa police and fire crews are searching for 48-year-old David Stewart, who was reported missing late Thursday morning. Ottawa police handout

Marine and water rescue crews from the Ottawa police and fire departments are searching on and around the Ottawa River near Britannia Bay for a 48-year-old man reported missing late Thursday morning.

David Stewart was last seen around Ridgevalley Drive near the Bayshore Shopping Centre at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the Ottawa Police Service.

Stewart’s car was found in the parking lot at Britannia Park. His green kayak was missing from the vehicle, police said.

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As part of the search effort, Ottawa Fire Services deployed two boats on the water this afternoon and conducted a wide grid search above and below the Deschênes Rapids, spokesperson Danielle Cardinal said.

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One of the crews finished their search and packed up shortly after 1:30 p.m., she said. The second crew remains on scene and is helping with a search along the shoreline.

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Right now, crews are only conducting their searches above water, an Ottawa police spokesperson said.

Police issued a missing person bulletin for Stewart on Thursday afternoon.

Investigators say Stewart is five feet 10 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds. He has a thin, athletic build and a tattoo of a bulldog on his shoulder, police say.

Stewart’s dark brown hair is shoulder length with some grey, and he’s got “small facial scruff,” the notice said.

With heavy rain in the weather forecasts, first responders are encouraging residents to stay away from the swollen Ottawa River, which has flooded several communities in the national capital over the past three weeks.

“Avoiding area waterways is highly recommended as upcoming rain will continue to cause water levels to continue to fluctuate,” the fire department tweeted.

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Police urge anyone with information about Stewart’s whereabouts to call 613-236-1222.

Anyone who doesn’t know where he is but has information that could help investigators is asked to call 613-236-1222, ext. 2355, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or by downloading the Ottawa police app.