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Kayaker and boat captain missing on Okanagan lakes

2 separate vessels capsized on Okanagan and Kalamalka lakes have not resurfaced following storm

Two men who went missing on two separate lakes Monday, July 24, have yet to be found.

Searches are underway on Okanagan Lake and Kalamalka Lake for the individuals who went missing in separate boating incidents overnight.

A missing kayaker is being sought on Kalamalka Lake, after a group of kayakers alerted police around 11 p.m. Monday.

A storm blew in creating rough conditions for the group, which was able to land on the west side of the lake.

One of the men in the group left in an attempt to paddle back across the lake to Kalamalka Beach. The man was not seen again and his kayak has since been recovered.

Vernon Search and Rescue responded and conducted an initial search for the man who was not found.

A short time later, around 11:15 p.m., RCMP received a report that one person was missing after a commercial fishing vessel had capsized on Okanagan Lake near Ellison Provincial Park.

The boat was engaged in fishing activities and towing a smaller vessel when it encountered high waves and strong winds brought on by an overnight storm, causing the vessel to overturn. The man operating the vessel did not surface. An initial search of the area was conducted by search crews as well as an RCMP police boat, unfortunately the man was not located.

“Concurrent searches have been organized and are underway on both Kalamalka Lake and Okanagan Lake, utilizing both Vernon Search and Rescue and RCMP resources,” said Const. Chris Terleski, media relations officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. “These are both terribly unfortunate events and our thoughts are with the families during this difficult time as we continue our search for their loved ones.”

Terleski said RCMP resources, including the RCMP’s Underwater Recovery Team, are involved in the search Wednesday.

Worksafe BC and the RCMP’s investigation team are working together to determine the best way to safely recover the boat from Okanagan Lake, while ensuring its removal does not compromise the investigation.

“The situation has presented some challenges that have impacted the recovery effort and are currently being worked through,” Terleski said.

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

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