Early in the morning on Aug. 15, Search and Rescue (SAR) teams were dispatched to Findlay Creek after a 51-year-old Canal Flats man fell off the bridge and into the water.
Cpl. Chris Newel of the Kimberley RCMP said police received a call around midnight of a collision on the Skookumchuck Forest Service Road (FSR) Bridge.
“The driver failed to negotiate the curve, for whatever the reasons, and ends up on the barricade. He ends up high centered on that with his left front tire sort of basically hanging off the bridge, then he goes to free the truck and do some work and that’s when he falls into the [creek].”
BC Ambulance, Canal Flats Fire Department, RCMP and SAR teams were called in to help locate the man, including an SAR team from Sparwood.
Sparwood SAR manager Ed Ehrler said a team was sent there on the weekend to assist.
“We did send some members up there both on Saturday and Sunday, but we haven’t been requested to up there again today,” he said.
Newel said at this point, there’s not much that can be done in terms of searching for the man.
“The high probability areas have been searched and now we re-evaluate what’s been done and what’s the next course of action based on the water level and the probability and take it from there.”
The drop from to the water is approximately 150 feet, and Newel said it is hard to say what would happen if someone went over into the creek because there are a number of factors that come into play.
“Such as log jams, pools, there’s a falls not far downstream from where he went in, with turbulent activity below the falls.”
The corporal said when the call initially came in it was presumed the man had been ejected from the car after hitting the guardrail, but officers soon discovered there was “pretty good evidence” he was in the creek.
“There were some witnesses in the area that were able to enlighten us a bit further,” Newel said, adding that led them to believe the man was actually in the water and had not just walked away and abandoned the car.
While the immediate search isn’t ongoing, Newel said that doesn’t mean the search is over and that it’s a common fallacy among the public that police abandon missing person files, Newel said.
“People think that we give up, when actually, missing persons files basically stay open forever,” he said, adding there’s an officer with a dog that search the areas where people have gone missing several times a month, keeping their eyes open for new information.
At this time, police are working with the man’s family, Newel said.