Yellowknife RCMP have suspended the search for the three overdue travellers believed to have been enroute to Lutsel’ke after confirmation of a deceased person has been observed in a large area of open water.
The person has not been identified at this time. The investigation will continue as an open missing persons file.
During a patrol on May 17th, RCMP observed a deceased person in the open water near the debris. Unable to land on ice near the location, RCMP collected evidence through aerial photographs to confirm a deceased person was in the water, and for possible identification.
The families were notified of the discovery states Staff Sergeant Yannick Hamel, Yellowknife RCMP Operations Manager.
“Our hearts are with the families of the missing persons. We are sorry to bring this tragic news to them and we will continue to support them.”
There were no sightings of the missing travellers after multiple searches over the area over several days with clear visibility, and deteriorating ice conditions.
Experienced searchers determined that all viable search options have been exhausted and a decision was made by RCMP to suspend the air search, and the families were notified of this as well states S/Sgt Hamel.
“We understand the desire to bring these travellers home, but due to the deteriorating ice conditions, we stress that no one should venture out on the ice.”
A strategy to extract the deceased person from the water is being developed. The plan will be analyzed and evaluated for risk, as water, ice and weather conditions continue to change on a daily basis.
The investigation will now be taken over by Yellowknife RCMP General Investigative Section, who will continue to investigate the missing person’s file for all three individuals. Efforts to identify the third person continue.
The RCMP will assist the NWT Coroner Service with their investigation.
The RCMP adds that if further evidence comes to light, lifting the air search suspension may be reevaluated.