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Canoeists who capsized in Five Finger Rapids safe

One member of party of four was missing for hours prompting police search.
Five Finger Rapids on the Yukon River north of Carmacks seen on July 20, 2022. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

The Carmacks RCMP have published information about four canoeists reaching safety after their boat overturned in the imposing Five Finger Rapids on the Yukon River. A search for one of the canoeists was called off after they reached shore and made contact with the others.

Police received a call about the capsize at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 24. They were told that one of the canoeists was unaccounted for.

“Officers with Carmacks RCMP immediately engaged with Capital Helicopters, as well as resources from other RCMP detachments to conduct a variety of air and water patrols in the area,” a Sept. 1 statement from the Carmacks RCMP reads.

“At approximately 11:10 p.m., the searchers learned that the missing canoeist, part of a group visiting the Yukon from overseas, had made their way to shore and was confirmed safe. Extra resources were stood down for the night and police followed up with all members of the group on Aug. 25 to confirm safety.”

Police warn that water levels are high throughout the territory. The high water coupled with the dropping temperatures as summer comes to an end make it even more important for boaters to consider their safety.

“Anyone enjoying the Yukon lakes and rivers must take appropriate precautions in advance of their travel,” said Insp. Rob Nason of the Yukon RCMP.

“We found out that these travellers were all wearing life jackets or PFDs and clothing appropriate for the weather, and they had a satellite phone available for emergency communication. Their preparations contributed to the positive outcome of this occurrence.”

This incident is not related to the canoeist who went missing on the Nisutlin River on Aug. 23. That man, 73-year-old Vaclav Jonas, remained missing following a capsize and separation from his group as of the Yukon News’ deadline.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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