Police have called off an extensive search for three people they were worried could have been swept downstream after allegedly stealing a boat yesterday morning.
Smithers RCMP were called to the Fort Telkwa campground about 2 a.m. on Sept. 8 after a complaint that a 14-foot aluminium boat had been stolen.
When they arrived the boat was anchored in the middle of the river with nobody in it. Witnesses told police the people who took it appeared heavily intoxicated.
Smithers RCMP launched a land, air and water search with 13 volunteers from Bulkley Valley Search and Rescue (BVSAR).
Volunteers in two jet boats and a helicopter failed to find any sign of the three people and the search was cancelled last night.
North District RCMP Cpl. Dave Tyreman said police were not sure if the people were missing but “erred on the side of caution” by launching the search.
He said Smithers RCMP had described the water where the boat was found as “shallow” but he was not sure how deep.
“It’s just a matter of we’d like to account for these three individuals hoping that they didn’t get swept downriver,” said Cpl. Tyreman.
Police are appealing to the public for information that could confirm their safety. He said the people involved would not be charged if they came forward.
“We just want to rule out any possibility that these people did get swept downriver because there’s a lot of people involved in this search and a lot of resources being spent on this,” said Cpl. Tyreman.
Nobody had come forward when The Interior News spoke to police this morning.
Cpl. Tyreman said police had asked contractors working in the area to confirm all of their workers were accounted for.
“We don’t have any reports of missing persons from Smithers itself so the other avenue that [police] are going down is that I understand there is a lot of paving or sealing contractors in town,” said Cpl. Tyreman.
“They’ve questioned them to make sure, ‘Hey are all your guys here?’”
Anyone with information can contact Smithers RCMP on 250-847-3233.