Update on search for overdue travellers

Search and Rescue in NWT
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As Day 4 came to a close on search efforts for the three overdue travellers believed to have been en route to Lutsel’ke, Yellowknife RCMP held a media advisory on the night of May 17th to provide an update on the missing travellers as well as a look at their search efforts.

Samuel Boucher, 65, Cammy Boucher, 23 and a still unidentified unknown male in their company are believed to have departed Dettah approximately 10:30 p.m. Monday, May 13th. They were aboard a 1990’s era Black Bombardier Scandic two-seater, towing two toboggans.

RCMP began the search and rescue operation on May 14th. Due to deteriorating ice conditions, the search was restricted to air resources. Air resources deployed included rotary and fixed wing aircraft through assisting and partner agencies.

The air search concentrated on the triangular area of Yellowknife, Fort Resolution and Lutsel’ke with multiple air resources. A fixed-wing aircraft deployed Tuesday evening, May 14th for the initial search. Wednesday, May 15th, air search efforts included both fixed wing and rotary aircraft. These air resources continued the search through May 16th and during the evening patrol, a rotary aircraft identified an area of interest on Great Slave Lake.

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On May 17th, the search entered its fourth day. Air resources returned to the area of interest for further assessment. The area of interest was a large area of open water where some debris had been spotted. Searchers were able to land on nearby land masses but were unable to land on the thin ice near the open body of water. Investigators are reviewing the debris to determine if any items may be identifiable to the overdue travellers’ party.

Friday, May 17th’s search efforts included searching land masses and shorelines near the area of interest, for any sign of the travellers. Search efforts, extended to the West Shore of Great Slave Lake, took place in the event that the travellers had ended up in an area outside of the estimated travel route. The search area expanded from approximately 7,200 sq kilometres to almost the entire Great Slave Lake with the search of the western shore.

At this time, estimated kilometres covered by the air search resources is 20,000 plus, as portions of the search area have been flown over multiple times by different types of aircraft.

Staff Sergeant Hamel, Operations Manager, Yellowknife Detachment RCMP noted that the searchers continue to see deteriorating ice conditions.

“With increasing temperatures, the ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly. So much so, that the area of open water we are investigating, increased dramatically in size from yesterday to today. RCMP continue to stress the importance of staying off the ice. It is treacherous.”

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With Day 4 in the books, RCMP are reviewing and evaluating the information gathered to date to determine the plan going forward. Hamel adds that they have been in contact with the families of the two known missing travellers, and are continuing to update them on the search efforts.

“Our hearts are with the families as we draw to the close of day 4. We will continue to support them in this difficult time.”

Hamel stated that the RCMP thanks their partner agencies, and will provide details on the partner agencies involved at a later date.

“The north is a beautiful and vast area. Any search efforts are joint efforts as partner agencies come together to assist in locating the missing party, we can’t thank them enough.”

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