A Lumby man is now considered to be a missing person, as the truck he owns sits beneath the rushing waters of the Shuswap River, after plunging in Saturday night.
RCMP say they received a call from a witness that same night, around 8 p.m. That person told police they saw a truck drive off the road and into the river near the Shuswap River Bridge, on Mabel Lake Rd.
“The witness didn’t see anyone get out of the vehicle that had completely submerged,” says RCMP spokesman Gord Molendyk.
RCMP and Vernon Search and Rescue Crews immediately rushed to the scene but were unable to get to anyone that may have been in the vehicle, due to the fast and dark water.
“Even though Search and Rescue crews are highly trained and our RCMP divers are highly trained we cannot risk them getting into the water to attempt to confirm whether anyone is in the vehicle. It is far too dangerous to put our people in the water,” says Molendyk.
Vernon SAR were able to lower a member down to the water who did some probing and located what they felt was something metallic in the water, which they suspect is the truck.
A license plate was also recovered and RCMP were able to identify the registered owner of the vehicle -- a man from Lumby, who they have been unable to locate. His family has since been advised.
“It is a very tragic case. Here we have a witness that sees the vehicle go off and because of the location of where the vehicle landed in the river, we cannot get to it. For family members we cannot give them answers,” says Molendyk.
At this point the RCMP cannot confirm the registered owner was in the truck at the time. They also do not know whether there were any other passengers in the vehicle when it entered the water, but Molendyk says they are not aware of any other missing persons reports at this time.
“It is a very difficult situation for family members as there is nothing at this point we can do. They are even hinting that it may be weeks, into July, before the river is safe to enter.”
For now, emergency crews are unable to help until the water levels begin to lower and the currents slow down.
Molendyk says they have visual evidence of a vehicle going over the bank and a witness report to the incident, but they cannot see the truck in the river because the water is so murky and fast moving.