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Crews continue search for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake, urge safety

Click to play video 'Search continues for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake' Search continues for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake
Search crews are still looking for a 71-year-old man who went missing on Okanagan Lake on Friday afternoon. Searchers believe Zygmunt Janiewicz entered the lake to do some kayaking, but he failed to return as scheduled – May 18, 2019

Search crews are still looking for a 71-year-old man who went missing on Okanagan Lake on Friday afternoon.

It’s believed Zygmunt Janiewicz entered the lake to do some kayaking, but failed to return as scheduled. A kayak, a paddle and a lifejacket were found close to each other along the 3300 block of Watt Road.

Zygmunt Janiewicz
Zygmunt Janiewicz. Kelowna RCMP

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“We believe he started his paddle at 12:30 [p.m.], with a return time of 1:45 p.m.” said Duane Tresnich, search manager for Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR). “And around that time, that’s when the wind really picked up.”

COSAR said they are searching north of Gyro Beach by a kilometre or so.

Tresnich said Janiewicz paddled every day, so he was quite fit and was also familiar with the weather and lake conditions.

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“He followed one of his normal routes and just hasn’t returned,” said RCMP Cpl. John Brown, adding the challenge of this search is “we don’t know exactly where he was last at.

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“And so we’re starting from point zero. We have an idea that he could be in Okanagan Lake, but where exactly he was last, we don’t know.”

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COSAR has a boat team searching for Janiewicz and said ground crews and two kayaks were to patrol the shoreline. A helicopter was also used in the search for approximately one hour on Saturday.

Tresnich said Saturday’s search plans included looking along the water path and along the edge of a shelf in the lake.

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He also noted that Saturday’s lake conditions were calm and clear, “100 per cent different than what it was yesterday.”

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Tresnich also asked boaters to please stay away from COSAR’s boat while the search is ongoing.

Brown also suggested that “anybody who’s out on the water, you need to wear personal flotation devices of some sort.”