July 18th, 2024

Crews searching South Saskatchewan River for missing man

By Medicine Hat News on June 1, 2017.

NEWS PHOTO EMMA BENNETT Pilots from the BATUS and HALO helicopters meet with emergency crews at the Strathcona Island Park boat launch during search and rescue efforts along the South Saskatchewan River for a missing man.

6:45 p.m. Redcliff RCMP Const. Kirk Fisler says the Medicine Hat Fire workers are searching the river around the point the man was reportedly last seen by a friend, and will continue to task the waters with Southeast Alberta Search and Rescue until it is dark.

“For tonight, firefighters are searching around the point where we believe the man was last seen going under by one of his friends to around the farm at Echo Dale,” said Fisler. “Search and Rescue will be out on its boats from around the farm at Echo Dale to the Trans-Canada bridge.”

Fisler says the groups are targeting these areas because they have not seen any signs showing the man has exited the river.

“We’re obviously hopeful that the man is alive at this time, but at this point in time we do believe that this is more of a recovery than a rescue,” said Fisler.

Fisler says the groups will continue the search in the morning at first light, and will continue to work down the river in the coming days.

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12:50 p.m. Medicine Hat Fire chief Brian Stauth says ground and boat crews are still concentrating their search in the area near Echo Dale where the swimmer was last seen. Air crews are broadening out from there to expand the search.

There are currently no plans to put divers in the water unless a body is found. The conditions are too dangerous, Stauth says.

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Officials are treating the search for a man in the South Saskatchewan River this morning as a recovery effort.

Crews began searching the South Saskatchewan River last night for a man is his 20s who went missing while swimming in the river with friends at Echo Dale Regional Park. The man, who’s name has not been released, is described as six-foot-two, 160 pounds. The missing man was reported last night around 8 p.m.

Officials say the possibility exists that the man may have exited the water during the night and simply has not been in contact. Anyone with information regarding the incident should call 911.

Crews are set up near the Strathcona Island Park boat launch and searching at different spots along the river.

Medicine Hat Fire Chief Brian Stauth told the News that a number of different jurisdictions have come together during the search, including the Medicine Hat fire services, Cypress County river rescue, local search and rescue organizations, and the MedicAir HALO helicopter. Another helicopter from BATUS at CFB Suffield is expected to join the search this morning.

The man’s disappearance comes one day after fire rescue crews rescued two boaters who had become swept up in the current and had to be retrieved from the water by rescue boat. They urged caution when near the river which can be unpredictable and swift flowing at this time of year.

This story is evolving and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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