Search for missing boaters in northeastern Sask. cancelled due to ice on Wollaston Lake

·2 min read
A photo shows the shore of Wollaston Lake in Saskatchewan. Three boaters went missing on the lake in mid-October.  (EpicFania/Shutterstock - image credit)
A photo shows the shore of Wollaston Lake in Saskatchewan. Three boaters went missing on the lake in mid-October. (EpicFania/Shutterstock - image credit)

A search and rescue mission involving several organizations that was set to begin Wednesday was called off because of weather conditions on Wollaston Lake.

Three boaters on the northeastern Saskatchewan lake — two men and a woman — were reported missing to RCMP on Oct. 13 after they didn't return at the designated time. All three were from Hatchet Lake Denesuline Nation, on the shore of Wollaston Lake, about 700 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

The boat that was believed to be carrying the three people was located on the lake.

On Oct. 16, the body of one of the boaters was found on the shoreline. He was still wearing a life jacket, according to Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte with the Prince Albert Grand Council.

Hardlotte said a search effort planned for Wednesday was cancelled after participants determined they couldn't reach the search location because of the amount of ice on the lake.

"We were thinking … looking at the forecast that this week was going to have mild temperatures and we would have that window for an opportunity to search [for] a few days," Hardlotte said.

For the past two weeks, RCMP have continued searching for the two people, with help from a range of organizations, including the Canadian Rangers and the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, the grand council said in a press release.

Groups enlisted from Manitoba to Lloydminster were set to join the search but didn't get the chance.

But community members already at the location are still looking.

"The northern people, they never give up," Hardlotte said. "They don't give up on their people — they'll search as long as they can be out there, depending on the weather and depending on what part of the season … they're doing the search."

The search organized with the various groups is planned to resume in the spring once the ice melts, Hardlotte said, which he acknowledges is months away.

"But there will still be the possibility of finding the bodies," he said.

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