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UPDATED: Fisheries department joins search in river
UPDATE: The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is now involved in the search for the body of Courtney Buck in the North Thompson River near Clearwater.
The body of Buck's husband, Skye, was recovered when the couple's car was found by an RCMP underwater recovery team on Tuesday, Dec. 11, and pulled from the river in four meters of water about 20 metres from the shoreline.
The couple died when their car left the highway at Wolf's Corner on Sunday, Dec. 9, went down a 30-metre embankment, hit a tree, then entered the water.
An RCMP dive team is using sonar equipment in areas that are too dangerous for the recovery team to enter due to the fast current of the North Thompson.
Mountie air services have also been sent to the site to conduct an aerial search, while the fisheries department is patrolling the river in boats.
The tragic weekend deaths of a young married couple who taught in Clearwater have been amplified by the fact the wife was in the late stages of pregnancy.
Clearwater and the Kamloops-Thompson school district are mourning the deaths of two members of their communities.
Skye and Courtney Buck died on Sunday night (Dec. 9) when the vehicle in which they were travelling left Highway 5 at Wolf Corner and crashed into the North Thompson River.
The two, described by friends as high-school sweethearts, taught in the community — Skye at Clearwater secondary, where he taught math and was a learning-assistance teacher, and Courtney at Raft River elementary, where she taught kindergarten and Grade 1.
Skye’s parents, Brent and Tracy, also teach at the secondary school.
Skye graduated from Clearwater secondary in 1999.
Courtney graduated from the same high school in 2000.
Skye would have marked his 31st birthday today (Dec. 11).
His wife was 30 and was in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy when the accident occurred, according to those who knew her.
Clearwater RCMP said officers were called about the crash about 17 kilometres south of the community just before 7 p.m.
Police said it was apparent at the scene a northbound vehicle had lost control, left the highway and gone down a 30-metre embankment into the North Thompson River.
Debris indicated the vehicle struck a tree at some point.
Due to the lateness and poor lighting conditions, an initial attempt to find the vehicle was unsuccessful.
Police resumed the search on Monday, Dec. 10.
Skye and Courtney were graduates of Thompson Rivers University, where Skye was a star basketball player, named BCCAA Player of the Year in 2004, an all-star on the CCAA Tournament Championship first team and a CCAA All-Canadian.
He played professionally in the English Basketball League in 2005.
The Bucks and Courtney’s family, the Dekelvers, have a long history in the Clearwater area.
Premier Christy Clark was in the community of 5,000 last month for the opening of Ed Buck Manor, a $1.6-million home for seniors and people with disabilities.
The facility was named after Ed Buck for his many works in the Clearwater area.
Kamloops-Thompson school district superintendent Terry Sullivan spoke with KTW about the tragedy:
“I first heard of this terrible tragedy early this morning. We dispatched critical-incident teams to the two schools in Clearwater.
“In addition, assistant superintendent Karl deBruijn, the assistant superintendent for the northern zone, left for Clearwater early this morning [Dec. 10] and was on site all day today and will be again tomorrow [Dec. 11].
“Also, three former school administrators from Clearwater accompanied Mr. deBruijn to assist.
“Both Skye’s family and Courtney’s family are longstanding Clearwater families.
“Skye’s mom and dad are Brent and Tracy Buck, who are both teachers at Clearwater secondary and have been for many years. Over the years, they have touched many lives throughout our system.
“Our hearts go out to these families at this time of sorrow and pain. These were two great young teachers who were just beginning their careers.
“They are a great loss to their families, their schools and community and to the Kamloops-Thompson school district.”