The family of a missing Manitoba snowmobiler presumed drowned says they’re mourning the loss of a loving man while they face the long road ahead.
Wayne LeMay said his brother, 50-year-old Dan LeMay, was a kind man who spent a lot of time outside.
“Danny was actually ridiculously generous and kind and loyal,” Wayne LeMay told Global News on Wednesday. “He was always around and into cars and campers and camping and all things outdoors.”
Dan LeMay, from Grunthal, Man., was last heard from Sunday night while out on a snowmobile ride in Whiteshell Provincial Park.
After two days of searching by more than 50 volunteers, numerous trained search and rescue teams and a helicopter which covered hundreds of kilometres of trails, the search was called off late Tuesday afternoon.
RCMP said ice rescue technicians from the Office of the Fire Commissioner found snowmobile tracks leading to broken ice and open water on Eleanor Lake.
“You could clearly see tracks going to the water, and then, unfortunately, nothing past that,” Sgt. Paul Manaigre said on Tuesday.
Wayne LeMay said after the extensive search, he had a feeling the outcome would not be the one he hoped for.
He got emotional when talking about the family, friends and strangers who volunteered their time to help find his brother.
“They left it all on the trail,” he said. “They beat up their machines, they beat up their bodies, just scouring every inch of that area.”
Police and family had believed since the beginning of the search that Dan LeMay got disoriented and was unknowingly heading in the wrong direction.
The hope was that he ran out of gas and was waiting for help.
Wayne LeMay still believes his brother lost his sense of direction when he ended up in a dangerous area.
“He was on a section of the river, really, that no sled should’ve been on and never would’ve seen the water,” he said.
Dan LeMay had three boys between the ages of 17 and 25.
“We’re all real concerned about the kids and that’s where our attention really is.” Wayne LeMay said. “We really want nothing but the best for them and to help them through all this.”
Since Dan LeMay’s body has not been recovered, the family isn’t sure what happens next.
Police said it’s too dangerous to send a dive team in the water and they likely won’t be able to go in until spring.
“He’s officially still a missing person,” Wayne LeMay said. “We know that this is going to be an ongoing thing, we don’t really know how it’s going to unfold.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the three boys.