RCMP dive team unable to locate body in Yukon River

Updated: The B.C. RCMP’s underwater recovery team was in Whitehorse Feb. 6 to attempt to recover a body from the Yukon River.

Updated:

The B.C. RCMP’s underwater recovery team was unable to locate a body during an attempted recovery mission in the Yukon River Feb. 6.

Two divers entered the water on Monday morning from a point known as the intake, between the Rotary Centennial and Riverdale bridges, and began searching downstream from there.

Whitehorse detachment commander Insp. Archie Thompson said RCMP believe a man entered the river from that point. He said the family has asked him not to reveal the man’s name, but police don’t suspect foul play.

“I can tell you that we’re actively looking for a missing person,” he said. “I think this person went in of their own accord, but as to what was the rationale, I’m not sure.”

Const. Tim Cucheran, with the underwater recovery team, said the two divers would search a stretch of riverbank between 500 metres and a kilometre long, but would not continue past the point where the river is completely frozen over.

“It’s likely that this would have to wait till later in the year,” he said.

The divers were hampered by the cold weather Monday morning, which caused some of their equipment to freeze up. After just a few minutes in the water, they were forced to return to their truck and thaw out before heading back into the water.

Still, Cucheran said visibility in the river was good, and the divers were sure they hadn’t missed the body in the areas they searched.

“We’re very methodical with our searches. We won’t say an area’s clear unless we’ve confirmed it’s clear,” he said.

Cucheran said it’s impossible to know how far downriver the man may have travelled.

The dive team has since returned to B.C., despite being unable to locate the body.

Contact Maura Forrest at maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

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