Wood Buffalo RCMP expand search to Athabasca River for missing canoer

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One man was found dead and RCMP officers are searching the Athabasca River for another missing canoer after the two were last seen on Saturday.

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Wood Buffalo RCMP received a report of the two missing canoers, both from Fort McMurray, on Ellis River, north of Fort MacKay, around 12:15 pm

Mounties said the two men were in a red 16-foot canoe paddling in a group which consisted of another dual-operator canoe, a single-operator canoe and a single-operator kayak. The group of six had been on the Ellis River for around an hour before they lost sight of the two men and called the RCMP.

Around 4:15 pm, searchers found the “overturned red canoe” and the body of one of the missing men — an 80-year-old male.

Wood Buffalo RCMP attended the area and a boat search supported by an aerial search was conducted with the help of Fort McMurray Search and Rescue, Fort McMurray EMS, STARS Air Ambulance, Syncrude Search and Rescue and Phoenix helicopter. Community members assisted with further ground searches, the RCMP said.

Mounties said search efforts are continuing for the missing 45-year-old man with the support of Civil Air Search and Rescue from Edmonton and the RCMP Air Service. Wood Buffalo RCMP are expanding their search to the Athabasca River.

Anyone who believes they have seen the missing 45-year-old man between May 21 and 23 are asked to contact Wood Buffalo RCMP or submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers.

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