Teams find fishers’ boat, submerged, as search continues

Last modified: October 1, 2019 at 3:40pm

Police say a submerged vessel has been found as the search for four fishers missing from Hay River continues.

Police said “what appears to be a vessel partially submerged in the water” had been seen by a Twin Otter from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre at around 9am on Tuesday.

The boat was located near Windy Bay on the west coast of Great Slave Lake, police reported.


“Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and Canadian Coast Guard vessels investigated and confirmed that the submerged boat was the one used by the overdue fishermen,” RCMP said in a news release at 3:30pm.

“There were no sightings of the fishermen.”

The search continues, police said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the search had shifted north along the shore from Yellowknife to Gros Cap, as well as from Hardisty Island to the Mackenzie River.

“We are continuing to coordinate the search efforts with the possibility of bringing additional aircraft and vessels,” Sergeant Brandon Humbke, from the Hay River Detachment, said in a statement on Tuesday morning – urging anyone with information about the missing fishers’ location to get in touch.


One of the fishers’ daughters, in a public message on Facebook, wrote: “This is my worst nightmare and I am living it. So many late evenings staring onto the water, waiting for my dad’s boats to come in.

“I pray my dad will bring his crew and himself home, that his years of experience and competence on the lake will guide them all home safely to their families.”

The search began on Monday shortly after 4am, almost a day after the group left Hay River’s wharf by boat to check nets some 90 minutes away.

The four did not return by 11pm, after which Cabin Radio understands another group of fishers went out to search for them. When that search party returned without success, police were called.


An aerial search of the southern shores of Great Slave Lake, from Hay River to Pine Point, took place on Monday, scouring the lake between Yellowknife and Hay River using radar and infrared equipment.

Aircraft from Yellowknife’s 440 Squadron and the Civilian Air Search and Rescue Association are assisting. A Hercules aircraft and Griffon helicopter have been deployed from Trenton, Ontario.

Police said Canadian Coast Guard boats were conducting grid searches between Hay River and Sulphur Point, on the south shore of the lake, where RCMP stated the crew was headed on Sunday.

Despite improved weather conditions overnight, police repeated their warning for community volunteers not to go out on the lake.