UPDATE: Wood Buffalo RCMP stated in a press release Wednesday evening that the body of the missing 46-year-old canoeist has been found deceased. Police noted that they have been in contact with the next of kin and the identity will not be released.
Over the May long weekend, a canoeing accident has left one man dead and another missing in the region.
A release was received from the RCMP stating that on May 21, 2022, an 80-year-old man and a 45-year-old man, both locals to Fort McMurray, were in a red 16-foot canoe and paddling with a group on the Ells river when unexpected rough water occurred.
Wood Buffalo RCMP received a call around 12:15 p.m. from paddlers who were concerned for the safety of the two men.
The police, along with assistance from Fort McMurray Search and Rescue, Fort McMurray EMS, Local HERO Foundation, and Syncrude Search and Rescue all attended the scene to conduct a search.
At approximately 4:15 p.m. searchers located the overturned red canoe and the body of one of the missing boaters, the 80-year-old male. Police have been in contact with their next of kin.
Wood Buffalo RCMP is expanding the search for the 45-year-old man to the Athabasca River with the help of the Civil Air Search and Rescue from Edmonton, and the RCMP Air Service.
RCMP stated in a press release that both occupants were described as wearing personal floatation devices, and the missing canoer was wearing an orange PFD.
The Mounties are asking anyone on the Athabasca River to remain clear of the area to allow crews to work.
If you have any information on the situation you are asked to contact the Wood Buffalo RCMP at 780-788-4040 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.