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UPDATED: Search on Slocan Lake delayed by mechanical issues

 Search and Rescue and police are still trying to find the bodies of three missing youths - ICandyFilms photo
Search and Rescue and police are still trying to find the bodies of three missing youths
— image credit: ICandyFilms photo

The ongoing search for the bodies of  three youths who were involved in a canoe mishap on Slocan Lake was hampered by mechanical issues on Monday.

The search was suspended early on Monday, due to a minor mechanical problem that developed on the boat. The problem has since been repaired resulting in the search being continued today.

The searchers plan to concentrate on the area the youths were last seen. No final decision has been reached upon terminating the search efforts at this time. This is evaluated at the conclusion of each search day.

It's been almost two weeks since the incident and there is still no sign of three missing youths on Slocan Lake.  Vernon Search and Rescue has been using its side-scan sonar and underwater remote vehicle Thursday afternoon and all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

An additional company, Bruce's Legacy from Wisconsin, has been brought in to assist with the search. The company has similar equipment as Vernon Search and Rescue. Both teams are being supported by the RCMP dive team, Arrow Lakes Search and Rescue and the Slocan Lake Fire Department.

Police hoped that having two teams with hi-tech equipment working together would increase the chance of success. However, the search of the Bigelow Bay area was suspended Sunday evening.

"Several potential sightings were explored, however positive results were not obtained," Sgt. Darryl Little said. "It has been decided to scale back the search effort with only one boat remaining on the water tomorrow."

Weather was a factor in Saturday's search as rain, wind and a thunderstorm blew in. As a safety precaution, the boats were brought back to the harbour for about two hours.

Little says the underwater terrain is proving challenging for the searchers as there are a number of large boulders and deep chasms which could prevent a body from being discovered.

A canoe carrying four youths travelling from New Denver to Rosebery tipped over last weekend.

Lily Harmer-Taylor, 19, who found but died in hospital. Jule Wiltshire-Padfield, 15, Hayden Kyle, 21, and Skye Donnet, 18, are still missing.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay held a moment of silence for them at its board meeting Thursday. “Our condolences to the valley and everyone involved,” chair John Kettle said. “It’s a tough deal.”

Silverton director Leah Main, who knows the families of two of the victims, said New Denver mayor Ann Bunka has been a “point person under incredible pressure and strain.”

“We are just one family when something like this happens,” Main said. “I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers.”

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