Missing men’s truck located

Vehicle found in Findlay Creek; water velocity too swift for Search and Rescue to approach

The search for two men missing in the Findlay Creek area since Saturday, June 8 has taken a new turn. RCMP and Search and Rescue have located the truck in the fast-moving creek, but conditions are such that they cannot get to it.

“They are still missing but we were able to positively locate the truck,” said Cpl. Chris Newel of the Kimberley Detachment. “It’s in a really dangerous spot and the current is just too swift and too strong.

“We can’t get down to it and at this time, won’t be able to get it out. We can’t ascertain if the two men are in it or not.”

Search and Rescue and police remain on the scene, Newel said, and are doing their best to come up with some options for the families.

“There are a lot of theories as to whether they are in the truck or not,” he said. “They may not be.”

The velocity of the river is not likely to decrease any time soon as the freshet continues and there is rain in the forecast.

Newel says the water did clear over the weekend and that’s why they were able to locate the truck, but the velocity is not slowing.

He says the loss of a Search and Rescue worker in Creston in late June of 2011 is very much on the minds of those working on this case.

“It’s a serious concern for all of us,” Newel said.

The two men, Stephen Thomson, 21, of Canal Flats, and Nicholas Hoefnagels, 18, of Carstairs, Alberta, left their campsite at Whitetail Lake around 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 8.

Police were called when they still hadn’t returned by 2:30 a.m. On Sunday, Search and Rescue and RCMP found a spot on Findlay Creek Forest Service Road where it appeared that a vehicle had left the road down a steep embankment into Findlay Creek. A Search and Rescue team combed the area and found personal items belonging to the subjects on the bank of the creek. At that time there was no sign of the vehicle.

Findlay Creek Forest Service Road meets Highway 92/95 west of Canal Flats and leads to Whitetail Lake and the Blue Lake Centre.