Yellowknife, Northwest Territories – Yellowknife RCMP have recovered the deceased person from a large area of open water on Great Slave Lake.
After receiving reports of overdue travellers on Tuesday, May 14 evening, RCMP began search and rescue operations with Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) heading out in a fixed wing aircraft. Due to treacherous and deteriorating ice conditions, the search was restricted to air resources.
Samuel Boucher, 65, Cammy Boucher, 23 and an unknown male in their company are believed to have departed Dettah approximately 10:30 pm Monday May 13. They were aboard a 1990’s era Black Bombardier Scandic two seater, towing two toboggans. They were believed to be headed to Lutsel’ke.
Late on May 16, a Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Griffon spotted an area of interest with debris near a large open area of water. Two RCMP members, including Forensic Identification Unit, were aboard the JRCC Griffon on May 17, as it returned to the area of interest. During the patrol, 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.
RCMP announced the observation of a deceased person in a large area of open water late on May 18, after families had been notified. They advised a strategic plan was being developed for possible recovery of the deceased person.
After an inventory of equipment and skilled specialists available, a thorough risk analysis of all factors, and favourable conditions prevailing, RCMP dispatched a crew on board a helicopter the morning of Monday May 20. Three RCMP officers and one Department of Fisheries and Oceans personnel were able to land and retrieve the deceased person from the water, along with some of the debris.
The helicopter performed a surveillance patrol, for possible sighting of the remaining missing two persons. There were no sightings of the two persons, and no further debris noted.
The NWT Coroner Service took possession of the deceased person that afternoon. During the evening of May 20, NWT Coroner Service confirmed the identification of the deceased as Samuel Boucher, 65 years, of Lutsel’ke. The RCMP are assisting the NWT Coroner Service with their investigation.
RCMP stayed in constant communication with the families of the missing persons, including the plans for recovery of the deceased and the identification of Samuel Boucher.
Yellowknife RCMP General Investigative Section will continue to investigate the missing person’s file for the remaining missing two persons. RCMP believe Cammy Boucher, 23, was part of the party leaving Dettah on May 13. RCMP believe Jake Gully, 28, of Fort Good Hope was the third person in the party. RCMP will continue the missing person’s investigation and encourage anyone with any information on their whereabouts in the days leading up to May 13, to please contact your local detachment.
Evidence collected in the investigation have led RCMP to believe the two missing person’s may have suffered the same fate as Samuel Boucher. RCMP will continue to survey the area around Ethen Island for any sign of the missing persons.
CASARA remains one of our main partners in surveilling the area. For the short to mid term plans, air surveillance will continue to be the main source of information on the investigation.
Due to the continued shifting of ice and water conditions, RCMP caution anyone to stay off the ice. “Our officers have been on the water and experienced the conditions first hand. They strongly urge people to stay off the ice and water” states S/Sgt Yannick Hamel.
RCMP remains in contact with the missing person’s families. “We are so very sorry for their loss, and for those families still waiting word on their loved ones. We will continue to surveil the area on a regular basis and will make every effort to reunite them with their loved ones” states Inspector Alex Laporte, Yellowknife Detachment Commander.
RCMP thanks their partner agencies, CASARA, 440 Squadron, JRCC and DFO for their assistance with the search and recovery effort.
“We can’t thank our partners enough. The countless hours, efforts and expertise of CASARA were invaluable in our search. Our partner agencies JRCC and DFO are also valuable partners bringing expertise and assets to our searches” thanks, Insp Laporte.
Northwest Territories RCMP
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