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Nothing behind river rescue

Two Kent Harrison Search and Rescue workers jet ski to the Agassiz Rosedale bridge on Friday afternoon, following a report that two men could have drowned in the Fraser River.   - Jessica Peters
Two Kent Harrison Search and Rescue workers jet ski to the Agassiz Rosedale bridge on Friday afternoon, following a report that two men could have drowned in the Fraser River.
— image credit: Jessica Peters

A recent search for two men, in and along the Fraser River, turned up nothing.

But in the end, it seems, there was no one to be found in the first place.

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue was sent out two Fridays ago, when a call came in about two fishermen in trouble.

The caller said he saw two men in a small, silver river boat, and that it hit the Agassiz-Rosedale bridge and disappeared.

RCMP from Agassiz and Chilliwack immediately began combing the river, by land and by air. An officer at the scene said they were checking boat launches for any clues, and a RCMP helicopter circled the area.

They also called in Search and Rescue, an unpaid, volunteer group that assists with dangerous rescues and recoveries.

However, a few hours after the initial call was made, RCMP concluded that it was a false call out.

Marvin Anderson was one of the SAR members on the river that day. He says it didn't take long to figure out the missing men were fictional.

"The whole story sort of fell apart," he says, and RCMP told SAR to pull their boats off the river.

Anderson says calls where no one needs rescuing happen two or three times a year. Most often, the people "missing" have changed plans and not told anyone.

Instead of being upset about the unnecessary search, he says they try to see it as a positive thing.

"We just make the best of it," he says. "You could go away grumbling and mad, but why?"

He says they just chalk it up to extra practice. About a half dozen SAR members came out to assist with the river search.

The story did seem to hold a bit of validity when a boat of a similar description was spotted down the river, between Agassiz and Mission. But upon further investigation, police found it was a boat that been abandoned quite a while ago.

Anderson says abandoned boats do pose a problem for rescuers.

Anytime an abandoned boat is discovered, it needs to reported and investigated.

Abandoned boats can pose a hazard, and make a mess of the river, he says.

news@ahobserver.com

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