Burns Lake RCMP and Search and Rescue (SAR) responded to a Francois Lake boating accident on the evening of June 7, 2013, after being alerted by witnesses that a male wearing a life jacket was clinging to a capsized boat at 7:30 p.m.
The small boat was overturned in rough waters. Of the two male passengers, one made it to shore and was transported to Prince George for medical treatment. The other male is still unaccounted for, and is reported to be local resident Syd Neville.
According to local RCMP the search has been downgraded to a recovery effort, as the missing boater is assumed to be drowned.
Burns Lake RCMP and SAR had set up a command station at Sandy’s RV and Camping Resort, on the northwest side of Francois Lake.
“Numerous people showed up with boats and ATVs,” said John Rempel, Burns Lake SAR search manager. “Search and Rescue teams from Houston, Vanderhoof and Prince George aided Burns Lake SAR.”
By the end of Saturday evening, more than 100 SAR personal, volunteers, and the RCMP were involved in the search. Numerous boats, ATVs, a helicopter and two float planes were involved in the search.
Sandy’s RV and Camping Resort served as a base station for the efforts and accommodated searchers.
The second passenger was spotted floating on top of the over-turned boat by people on the shoreline. He was flown to Prince George Regional Hospital suffering from severe hypothermia.
The second male is reported to be Syd Neville’s 21-year old nephew.
Searchers recovered a cooler and a life jacket along the shore. Burns Lake RCMP report that the missing passenger was not wearing a life jacket when the boat capsized.
The local community is very saddened by this sudden and terrible accident. Volunteers continue to search the area.
Francois Lake is located approximately 26 kilometres south of Burns Lake.