Two Vancouver men left a dinghy on Harrison Lake two days ago and have not been seen since.
On Monday, June 8, a group of eight friends decided to beat the heat by floating in a dinghy on Harrison Lake. Two of the friends decided to leave the drifting dingy to swim ashore, approximately 400 metres north of the boat rental dock in front of the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa.
At approximately 5:45 p.m. Monday evening, RCMP received a report that the two men, aged 23 and 25, both from Vancouver, had not been seen since leaving the dingy.
RCMP, Kent Harrison Search and Rescue (KHSAR) and Chilliwack Search and Rescue conducted a search. KHSAR deployed two boats, two seadoos and most of their membership, to search eight square kilometres of Harrison Lake, the shoreline and the current of the Harrison River. RCMP also dispatched a boat. They were assisted by Chilliwack Search and Rescue who sent a ground crew of five to search the Sandy Cove trail and area.
The search continued all day Tuesday, June 9 on the lake and Harrison river. According to RCMP, after exhausting all efforts to locate the missing swimmers, RCMP suspended their search by end of day Tuesday.
“The area is immense and after a thorough search the missing men have not been found” said Sgt. J.D. Fredette of Agassiz Community Policing Office.
By Wednesday morning, after discussions with RCMP’s underwater recovery team, KHSAR was requested to use their side scan sonar to search the lakebed in the approximate area where the two subjects were last seen. According to Neil Brewer with KHSAR, the search was scheduled to end at 4 p.m. today, pending further information.
Brewer says as of Wednesday afternoon, KHSAR had put in 225 hours of time into this investigation, with another 25 or so by Chilliwack SAR members.
Cpl. Mike Rail, RCMP spokesman, urges caution for people who want to enjoy the great outdoors.
“Outdoor tragedies are becoming far too common place this summer,” stated Cpl. Rail. “RCMP would like to remind visitors to our area to be aware of their limitations and the environment while enjoying activities in our region.”
The group of six remaining friends in the dingy had actually called for help earlier in the afternoon because of their drifting dinghy. The caller phoned RCMP a second time, saying the group had safely paddled to shore. KHSAR members quickly located and returned the boaters to their rental unit in Harrison. It was only a few hours later, when the group had still not seen their missing friends who had left the dinghy to swim ashore, that they again called for assistance.