A dive team has recovered the body of a 29-year-old search and rescue volunteer who drowned Wednesday during efforts to check a submerged car on the fast-flowing Goat River in southeast B.C.

Sheilah Sweatman, of Ymir, a small community near Nelson, died after falling from a boat, and is the first search and rescue volunteer in B.C. to be killed in the line of duty.

"At about 4:15 p.m. during the course of their search efforts, utilizing swift-water line equipment and a swift-water craft, one of the search and rescue members went overboard into the river and did not surface," the RCMP said in a release Wednesday, before the body was found.

Sweatman was originally from Manitoba, had about two years search and rescue service, and was assigned to the Kootenay Swift Water Specialists Team at the time of her death.


Sheilah Sweatman, 29, fell into the Goat River while taking part in a rescue attempt Wednesday. (Knowledge Network)

B.C. Search and Rescue Association President Don Bindon said the organization is profoundly saddened by the loss of one of its own, and that words could not express the sympathy association member feel for Sweatman's family, friends and colleagues.

Premier Christy Clark and Solicitor General Shirley Bond also offered condolences. Clark said the province is fortunate to have so many dedicated search and rescue volunteers who put their lives on the line to keep others safe.

Bond said the death is a tragic example of the risk search and rescue personnel face in their work.