Kent Harrison Search and Rescue members prepare the boat to head out for a surface search Tuesday afternoon.

Surface search suspended for missing swimmer on Harrison Lake; another confirmed dead Friday night

RCMP and Search and Rescue begin underwater search today

The search for a swimmer who went missing in Harrison Lake on the afternoon of Aug. 11 has turned up nothing so far.

The man, whose identity has not been released, was swimming off a boat with friends near Long Island when he disappeared under the water.

Eyewitnesses say the water at that location was 130 feet deep.

 

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue members searched the surface of the lake Tuesday, suspending their search at 9:30 p.m.

Wednesday morning, a dive team and RCMP sonar planned to head out to the site, on the west side of Long Island just south of 20 Mile Bay, according to KHSAR team manager Neil Brewer.

Initial reports are that a young man, estimated to be in his 20’s, disappeared in the water when four friends were out together on the lake.

Eyewitness Darlene Delaney shares what she saw happen. She and her husband Trevor were on their boat with friends visiting from Ontario. The Agassiz couple decided to putter over to nearby Long Island to watch the fire crews at work. Delaney says they looked behind them and saw a group of three swimmers in the water and one in a boat.

“I was saying the water must be nice today because they’re out swimming,” says Delaney.

They continued watching the helicopters work on the wildfire. A little while later, they turned around and saw two people in the nearby boat yelling and waving their arms.

“We thought maybe they were fooling around,” says Delaney, because the group had been laughing and swimming minutes earlier. But they quickly realized the men were serious and raced over.

There was one man in the water drifting away from two men in the boat. The Delaneys quickly rescued him by throwing him a rope and an inflatable life jacket.

“Our friend hasn’t come up,” the other two reportedly said to the Delaneys. “It was pretty scary.”

An air ambulance attended the scene but left without anyone on board. The man pulled from the water was taken away by BC Ambulance at the Harrison Lake boat launch.

Cpl. Mike Rail, RCMP spokesman, reminds boaters to be smart on the water.

“The police want to remind everyone to be safe when they’re on the water. If you’re boating, ensure you have the proper safety equipment on board,” says Rail. “Know your skills, know your environment and know your limitations.”

This is the most recent in a string of tragedies at the glacier-fed lake this summer.

A young woman was swimming with friends at Cogburn Beach on the east side of Harrison Lake Friday, Aug. 7 around 7 p.m. Barb McLintock, media relations for the BC Coroners Service, reports there was a “swimming incident” involving the woman.

The death is under investigation. She worked at Beatniks Bistro in Fort Langley and a memorial is in place at the restaurant with condolences for ‘Lyndsay’.

These incidents come on the heels of a video which was released from friends and family of two men who died in Harrison Lake June 8. Daniel Reid, 23 and Gary Duong, 25, were out with friends on an inflatable raft and decided to swim ashore. Their bodies were found a week and a half later in the Harrison River.

The video, found on Youtube, has been viewed more than 38,000 times. In the PSA, unnamed speakers urge the Village of Harrison Hot Springs to put up signs. At Monday evening’s Council meeting, Mayor Leo Facio said at this point, the Village has not received any formal reports or recommendations regarding signage.

“We’re open for discussion,” he said, but adds it would need to include other parties such as provincial government representatives.

He says the Village would need to work on how, “to put out precautions on a lake that’s 30 miles long.”

On social media, Gary Duong’s mother Jenny Chan wrote August 8, “We have just been made aware of another drowning at Harrison Lake today, and we know too well the pain that family must be experiencing right now. Given what we know now about that lake, we consider it unacceptable that a minimum of cautionary signs are not put up.”