Search suspended for Edmonton man swept away in Kootenay River while attempting to rescue his dog

Columbia Lake near Canal Flats, B.C., the source of the Columbia River, on June 30, 2011. MIKE DREW/CALGARY SUN/QMI AGENCY

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B.C. RCMP have suspended a search for a 43-year-old Edmonton man who was swept away in the Kootenay River Thursday while he was attempting to rescue his dog.

Police said the man was recreating with his family near the Canal Flats, approximately 82 km north of Cranbrook, B.C., when the tragedy occurred shortly before 3:30 p.m. MT..

“The victim was reportedly walking around a sand bar in the river, when his dog became caught up in the rivers current when it attempted to swim over to him,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesperson for the B.C. RCMP Southeast District, in a news release Friday. “The victim tried to reach his dog, when he suddenly lost his footing, fell into the water and failed to resurface.

“The family’s dog survived and managed to swim back to shore.”

RCMP members were immediately called in to search the area, and search and rescue (SAR) crews were launched to search the water. An aerial search was also conducted, and SAR technicians and a RCMP Police Dog Services team combed the area along the river banks.

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