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Crews resume search for missing man at Buntzen Lake

Last Updated Jul 18, 2018 at 11:45 am PST

Crews search for a man reported missing from Buntzen Lake in Coquitlam on July 17, 2018. (Credit: Coquitlam SAR/Twitter)

COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – Crews are back at Buntzen Lake in Coquitlam to look for a man who got into trouble in the water Tuesday afternoon.

Searchers spent hours on the lake late in the afternoon and into the evening.

The RCMP dive team has been called in today. RCMP Cpl. Mike McLaughlin says there’s always a chance, however slim, that a missing persons case like this will have a positive outcome but they are “realistic about the timeline” and believe this is now a recovery operation.

The missing man, who is a 19-year-old from Surrey, was on the lake on a novelty flotation device with a group of friends who called police when they lost sight of him.

Coquitlam SAR was activated by the RCMP at 5pm for reports of a missing male swimmer. We responded with 20 members and…

Posted by Coquitlam Search and Rescue on Tuesday, July 17, 2018

RCMP say the man was last seen in the water around 5 p.m. considerably far out into the lake. It’s believed he wasn’t a strong swimmer.

“There is no indication that drugs, including alcohol, played a any role in this particular file, nor is there any indication of criminal behaviour. This looks like something that was just a sad circumstance where somebody went missing in the water,” says McLaughin.

“This is a sad reminder that novelty flotation devices are not the best thing on the water. If you want to stay safe, the best thing by far is a personal flotation device (PFD) or a life jacket.”

He says the RCMP are strongly encouraging people to bring along life jackets when they’re heading to the water so that the number of drowning cases drop.

“There are all sorts of conditions out there that can make water complicated: it’s cold, it’s deep, there might be currents,” he says. “Certainly, in any situation when you’re out there on the water, a PFD, a life jacket is a great option. Go out and spend some money–it could save your life.”

Buntzen Lake is closed to the public. Three weeks ago, a 16-year-old died after falling over a waterfall at the same lake.

-With files from Dean Recksiedler, The Canadian Press