Kayaker missing on Cheakamus River 

Searchers couldn't find him at his last known location

click to flip through (5) PHOTO BY JOHN FRENCH - RAGING RIVER Kayakers set out to paddle the Cheakamus River early Saturday afternoon just as WSAR members wrapped up a search attempting to locate a missing kayaker.
  • Photo by John French
  • RAGING RIVER Kayakers set out to paddle the Cheakamus River early Saturday afternoon just as WSAR members wrapped up a search attempting to locate a missing kayaker.
 

A missing kayaker from Canmore is presumed drowned after he disappeared on Friday, Sept. 28.

Sgt. Rob Knapton of the Whistler RCMP said the police were called at about 5 p.m. after Peter Thompson, 19, went over a waterfall on the Cheakamus River and never resurfaced. The waterfall is located about 3.5km from Highway 99 just upstream of Loggers Lake at a popular kayak entry point.

Knapton said the two people with Thompson reported they went over the waterfall after Thompson and retrieved his paddle but there was no sign of their friend. The RCMP called Whistler Search and Rescue (WSAR) and a search team was in the area of the waterfall until 9 p.m. when darkness set in.

According to Knapton, the searchers went back to the scene the next morning and discovered Thompson’s personal floatation device. An underwater camera was used to further search the area below the waterfall. Knapton said water clarity was an issue along with the powerful hydraulics in the area. The searchers were unsuccessful in locating Thompson.

The search efforts were curtailed at about noon on Saturday.

“We are evaluating options at this point,” said Knapton.

While WSAR members and the RCMP were leaving the search area another group of nine paddlers from Vancouver were preparing to launch their kayaks from just below the waterfall where the search was conducted.

The leader of the group indicated they would keep their eye out for the missing kayaker as they intended to paddle a large section of the Cheakamus River.

Check back for more information on the search in Thursday’s edition of Pique Newsmagazine.

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