Two men still missing as searches continue on Okanagan, Kal lakes

Search on lakes continues

Tracey Prediger

UPDATE 5:10 p.m.

North Okanagan RCMP and Vernon Search and Rescue spent most of Tuesday on the water conducting searches for two missing men.

Both men were on different lakes late Monday night when a summer storm created dangerous conditions on the water.

A male kayaker went missing on the north end of Kalamalka Lake where Vernon Search and Rescue are focusing their initial search efforts.

A second man was reported missing after the commercial fishing vessel he was captaining capsized in Okanagan Lake near Ellison Provincial Park. He has since been identified as Travis Van Hill.

Richard Frontian lives nearby and reviewed his overnight camera footage. He could see police presence as early as 1 a.m.

“Then about two hours later I could see search and rescue lights, so they were out on the water looking for somebody,” says Frontain, who took his boat out for a closer look during daylight hours. “I came around the corner and I could see the shrimp vessel, bow up.” he says.

Police have confirmed there were two men on board and only one has surfaced.

RCMP are securing the perimeter of the submerged vessel keeping boats away from the area. They believe there is submerged netting and they don’t want any boaters to get entangled.

“We were out here last night and search and rescue was claiming the waves could have been 10 to 12 feet high," said Frontain, who fears the worst for the missing captain.

The submerged boat is similar to vessels owned and operated by Piscine Energetics, the company responsible for getting rid of mysis shrimp in Okanagan Lake. Castanet has reached out to the company for comment.

RCMP will only confirm the boat is a commercial vessel and WorksafeBC is now part of the investigation.

Plans for securing and extracting the vessel are now being co-ordinated by the RCMP’s underwater recovery team.

ORIGINAL 10:51 a.m.

Two men are missing and searches are underway on both Okanagan and Kalamalka lakes after separate marine incidents overnight.

In a news release issued by Vernon North Okanagan RCMP, police say they responded to reports of a missing kayaker on Kalamalka Lake. The call came in Monday at around 11 p.m.

The man was with a group of kayakers who were out on the lake at the time a storm blew in. After encountering rough conditions, the group was able to land on the west side of the lake.

One of the men in the group left in an attempt to paddle back across the lake to Kalamalka beach.

Vernon Search and Rescue responded and conducted an initial search for the man, but only his kayak has been found.

A short time later, around 11:15 p.m., police received a report that one person was missing after a commercial fishing vessel had capsized on Okanagan Lake near Ellison Provincial Park.

The boat was engaged in fishing activities and towing a smaller vessel when it encountered high waves and strong winds brought on by an overnight storm, causing the vessel to overturn.

Police say the man operating the vessel did not surface and the initial search of the area conducted by both Vernon Search and Rescue and an RCMP police boat did not locate the man.

Concurrent searches have been organized and are underway on both Kalamalka Lake and Okanagan lakes, utilizing both Vernon Search and Rescue and RCMP resources.

“These are both terribly unfortunate events and our thoughts are with the families during this difficult time as we continue our search for their loved ones,” said Const. Chris Terleski of the Vernon RCMP.

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