Terrace Seach and Rescue and the RCMP have called off their search for a kayaker in the Nass River, but are still appealing to the public for any information that may help confirm a person is missing.
On Wednesday afternoon, Stewart RCMP received a call from a crew working with a helicopter over the Nass River that they spotted an empty kayak and backpack floating in the river.
SAR’s swift water rescue team was called out to conduct an aerial search that evening and then continued today, working with RCMP Air Services and a fixed wing-airplane. The area is described as a very remote and rugged canyon with category four rapids, not accessible by vehicle or foot.
“We’re not sure where they may have gone to, we did the best we can to ensure that there’s nobody along the riverbank looking for help,” says Stewart RCMP’s Cst. Rob Gardner. “The water conditions were really treacherous… it’s a very off-beat path area, it’s a very deep canyon.”
Cst. Gardner says they were only able to find a red, inflatable kayak and a green hiking backpack with a silver/white rain cover, the latter of which was found under the old Nass River bridge during their search.
They looked vigorously along the river to the mouth at Gingolx, but were unable to find any signs of a person.
A white GMC crew cab pick-up has also been found and is believed to be associated with the missing kayaker. Footprints under the Bell Irving bridge along Highway 37 indicate it’s likely the person launched the kayak from that location.
Cst. Gardner adds they have not received a missing persons report or distress call, but are urging the public to come forward if they saw someone inflating or launching a kayak around the Bell Irving Bridge, or have dashcam footage from that area yesterday.
Dave Jephson, SAR vice-president, says they believe the person is not a B.C. resident but RCMP has yet to release any information where they may be from. It’s assumed the person was kayaking alone.
“We’re trying to get out there right now is if anyone it stopped at the rest area for a few minutes and then saw somebody doing preparing to go or anything like that, that would be huge,” says Cst. Gardner.
It is possible this person may have notified someone of their plans or had been seen traveling to this area with the items.
The RCMP is now focused on identifying the owner of the retrieved kayak, backpack and vehicle.
If you have any information that can assist with this investigation, please contact the Stewart RCMP at 250-636-2233 and cite file number 2019-284