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Clues turn up in search for missing boaters

Two men are missing on the Kinbasket Reservoir north of Revelstoke, RCMP say. - Alex Cooper Photography
Two men are missing on the Kinbasket Reservoir north of Revelstoke, RCMP say.
— image credit: Alex Cooper Photography

Police have found belongings of two boaters who went missing on Kinbasket Lake Monday night.

"There was debris found that has been confirmed by family members as belonging to the missing men," said Sgt. Kim Hall of the Revelstoke RCMP.

RCMP, Search & Rescue and BC Hydro have been scouring Kinbasket Lake and the shoreline for signs of two men who were reported missing shortly before midnight on Monday, July 7.

The men have been identified as Michael Murphy of Mission, B.C., and Allen Healy of Osoyoos, B.C. Both were working for Western Pacific Enterprises, a contractor working at Mica Dam.

The men left the Mica boat ramp to go fishing in a 4-metre aluminum boat on Monday, July 7, at around 6:30 p.m. Concern was raised when their truck was seen parked at the boat ramp at nightfall. When they weren't in their rooms at night, the RCMP was notified and a search was initiated.

BC Hydro employees scanned the shoreline that night and a Revelstoke Search & Rescue team traveled to the area by helicopter at first light Tuesday morning. RCMP and SAR searched a 100-square-kilometre area that morning and continued to search throughout Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Wednesday, they found a cooler and a pair of sandals that belonged to one of the men, Hall said. As well, a helicopter located an oil spill. The debris was located about 1.6 kilometres north of the boat ramp, 600 metres offshore.

The family of Michael Murphy is in Mica to assist with the search. They have posted missing person posters online pleading for help in finding their family member.

There is no word on what might have happened to the two men. Hall said the only evidence so far is a report from some other boaters who were on the lake at the time who heard something that sounded like a motor coming out of the water.

"Whether it was them, we don't know," said Hall. "There's different things that could have taken place, but we'd be speculating at this point."

The Kinbasket Reservoir is more than 200 metres deep near the Mica Dam and is still not at full pool. It stretches from Mica, 150 kilometres north of Revelstoke, almost to Valemount in the north and also extends south towards Golden. The lake is filled with debris and trees that were not removed before the reservoir was created in the 1970s.

With some clues as to where the men might have gone missing, the RCMP has  contacted with the dive team to search the lake-bottom.

"The RCMP is in contact with the dive team to look at the feasibility of doing a search near where the oil slick and near where the items were located," said Hall.

 

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