The RCMP’s Underwater Recovery Team is attempting to recover the body of an Alberta man presumed drowned in Okanagan Lake.
West Kelowna RCMP responded to a call of a 33-year-old Alberta man who failed to resurface while cliff jumping near Rattlesnake Island on Saturday at approximately 2:40 p.m.
Police say despite extensive search efforts by Mounties, the Peachland fire department and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, rescuers were unable to locate the man.
“For the safety of our divers and the entire search team, we request that boaters remain away from the area while we complete our search,“ said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy.
“At this time, we are unable to estimate how long this operation will be on-going.”
Investigators do not believe criminality was involved in the presumed drowning.
The BC Coroners Service has been notified.
It’s the fifth fatal drowning in the Okanagan since Father’s Day weekend.
In late June, 32-year-old Vernon man Daniel Salisbury died while cliff jumping in Kalamalka Lake near Cosens Bay.
Salisbury’s drowning was the second such incident on the Father’s Day weekend.
Kashif Sheikh drowned at Mill Creek Falls near Kelowna on June 21 while attempting to help his daughter, who survived.
On July 9, a 65-year-old man was swimming in Okanagan Lake near Boucherie Road in West Kelowna just steps from his lakeshore home when he failed to resurface.
22-year-old Edmonton man Nathan Falito lost his life on July 23 after drowning in Shuswap Lake.
He was a former Canadian Junior Football League player who was being recruited by the University of Calgary’s football program
The recent drownings are stark reminders to use extreme caution when on or near the water, police said.
“Summers are a great time in the Okanagan to enjoy the many lakes in the area,” said Kelowna RCMP Const. Solana Pare.
“However, with the increased traffic on the lakes, there is an increase in risk in accidents and drownings.”
Police are reminding residents and visitors that if they do choose to enjoy the water, to do so responsibly.
“We recommend that everybody takes the appropriate precautions to ensure they have a safe trip,” said Pare.
Drugs or alcohol can impair your decisions on the water, according to RCMP, who recommend wearing a lifejacket when necessary, and to let someone else know your plans for the day.
According to the Lifesaving Society, there have been 21 confirmed drownings in B.C. and the Yukon to date in 2020, compared to 19 last year and 44 during the same time period in 2018.