A Calgary fisherman is presumed dead after being swept up in northeastern B.C. waters nearly a week ago, RCMP said Tuesday.
Aaron Kingma was fishing near Hudson’s Hope last week, according to his family.
RCMP said a 39-year-old Alberta man went missing on May 29 just before 6 p.m. and is believed to have drowned after being “swept away with the fast-rising water.”
RCMP officers, the fire department, search and rescue crews and B.C. Emergency Health Services responded to Peace River near the Peace Canyon Bridge.
Cpl. Madonna Saunderson said search efforts were called off Thursday night, adding that the missing person investigation is still open.
Angela Patterson, Kingma’s sister-in-law, was told by witnesses that Kingma tried to swim to shore but he was taken away in the undertow.
More than 500 people searched for Kingma by land, air and water, according to Patterson.
Kingma was an amazing husband and loving father of two girls: a nine-year-old and a one-year-old, Patterson said Tuesday.
“He would take his little girls out for daddy-daughter dates and build lemonade stands and wear funny hats,” she said.
Patterson explained that Kingma, a contractor with Canadian Energy Services, was the main provider for the family, so she started the GoFundMe page.
“I wanted to set this up to help them in their time of need to get through the next couple of mouths,” she said. “It’s a really hard time and with them in limbo until they find Aaron, there’s a lot of stress financially and emotionally. Everyone’s just beside themselves.”
Kingma was expected to return home from the trip on Monday.
“He was an experienced fisherman with a lot of safety knowledge,” Patterson said.
“He was a very safety conscious guy and we all can’t believe that it happened because he was very aware of his surroundings. It just goes to show that Mother Nature is strong and water levels are high.”
A Facebook memorial page said Kingma was from Amsterdam and lived in Calgary.
– With a file from The Canadian Press