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Body of missing boater recovered from Chemong Lake near Curve Lake First Nation: OPP

OPP divers search Chemong Lake on Wednesday, Oct. 21 after a boater went missing on Oct. 17. Harrison Perkins/Special to Global News Peterborough

After more than four days of searching, the body of a missing boater on Chemong Lake north of Peterborough was recovered on Wednesday afternoon.

OPP divers located the man’s body in the lake near Curve Lake First Nation around 2:45 p.m.

Emergency crews around 6:40 a.m. Sunday responded to reports that a boat carrying four people had capsized.

Of the four occupants, one man and two women were rescued by Curve Lake residents. The man — Wei Liu, 48, of Toronto — later died in hospital while one woman suffered life-threatening injuries and remains in hospital. The other woman was treated for minor injuries and released, OPP said.

Since the incident, OPP have been searching the water for the missing man using their marine, helicopter and dive team units.

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OPP have identified the victim as Lie (William) Cao, 52, of Markham, Ont.

Some of his family have gathered at Chemong Lake both Tuesday and Wednesday to watch the search.

“We got a lot of friends and family that are helping us out in this time of need,” Cecil Cao, 19, who identified himself as the victim’s son, said on Tuesday evening. “The community here (Curve Lake) have been spectacular. They really helped us out and the police seem to be doing everything that they can.

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“It’s just that we’re just coming here every day just in hopes of being able to see him again…. We’re trying to stay realistic in what’s to come since with this pandemic, and with what’s happening to our lives. It’s been a roller-coaster.”

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Cao, of Markham, Ont., says his father loved to fish and visited many lakes in Ontario.

“He tried to get the biggest catch as much as he could,” he said. “He always tried to go to different lakes to seek out new and different places. You’d always try to drag me out, but I’m kind of a homebody. Honestly, I’m not sure because I never tried to pry too much into his fishing habits, but he always seemed to talk about Rice Lake (south of Peterborough).”

Cao says he decided to attend the lake to offer support and seek closure. He added that his mother is “grieving quite hard.”

“For us, it’s a place to find some solace in what’s happened to try to recount the events that happened here because the accident was really sudden for us,” he said. “We didn’t even expect it to happen. And now we’re here trying to see what he saw, trying to understand what he felt before the accident happened.”

William Cao has been identified as the missing boater on Chemong Lake. GoFundMe

A GoFundMe Page has been established to support the Cao family.

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Curve Lake First Nation Chief Emily Whetung said the community would offer whatever resources police needed in their search.

On Wednesday morning, the OPP tweeted that Otter Gas Marine in Curve Lake donated $300 in fuel to OPP vessels being used in the search.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

— More to come.

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