Wood Buffalo RCMP search for missing canoer on Athabasca River – LOCATED DECEASED

Fort MacKay, Alberta – After an extensive search the Wood Buffalo RCMP advise that the body of the missing boater was located today. The victim has been identified as 46-year old male from Fort McMurray. Police have been in contact with their next of kin.

The identity of the deceased will not be released.


Fort MacKay, Alberta – On May 21, 2022 at approximately 12:15 p.m., Wood Buffalo RCMP received a report of two missing canoers on Ellis River, north of Fort MacKay, AB.

May 21, 2022 the two missing canoers were in a red 16-foot canoe. One man in his 80’s and another 45-year-old man, both locals to Fort MacMurray, Alta. The pair were paddling in a group which consisted of another dual operator canoe, a single operator canoe and a single operator kayak. The party of six canoers and the kayaker had been on the Ellis River for approximately 60 minutes. The group lost sight of the red 16-foot canoe around 12:15 p.m., and called RCMP concerned for the safety of the two men.

Wood Buffalo RCMP attended, a boat search supported by an aerial search was conducted with the assistance of Fort McMurray Search and Rescue, Fort McMurray EMS, STARS Air Ambulance, Syncrude Search and Rescue, and Phoenix helicopter all attended. Further ground searches were also done by area community members.

Search and Rescue
(File Photo) Search and Rescue

At approximately 4:15 p.m. searchers located the over turned red canoe and the body of one of the missing boaters, the 80-year-old male. Police have been in contact with their next of kin.

Search efforts are continuing with the support of Civil Air Search and Rescue (CASARA) from Edmonton and the RCMP Air Service to search for the other missing boater. Wood Buffalo RCMP are expanding their search to the Athabasca River.

Wood Buffalo RCMP are asking anyone on the Athabasca River in the area of the search to remain clear to allow room to work and to keep an eye out for signs of the missing boater. Both occupants of the red canoe were described as wearing personal flotation devices. The missing canoer was wearing an orange PFD.

If anyone believes they have seen the male occupant of the red canoe between May 21 and May 23, please contact the Wood Buffalo RCMP at 780-788-4040 or your local police. If you want to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.

Wood Buffalo RCMP

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