hi-bc-130423-nicola-lake-4col

An RCMP helicopter and dive team searched Nicola Lake in late April after two teenage boys went missing. (Jaimie Kehler/CBC)

The friends and families of three B.C. drowning victims have come together to form an underwater search and recovery society.

Earlier this year, Langley teens Austin Kingsborough and Brendan Wilson, both 17, drowned in Nicola Lake, near Merritt.

Ten days later, 59-year-old John Poole died in Shuswap Lake.

RCMP dive teams were unable to recover any of the victim's bodies, but an American couple with high-tech sonar equipment was successful in locating and recovering all of the victims.

Now their families want to carry on underwater recovery work in their loved ones' names.

"The goal of the society is to bring closure to families that wouldn't otherwise achieve it," said Scott Lebus, a friend of Brendan Wilson's family.

"The authorities work hard, they do their best, but sometimes they cannot bring victims of families home. And our goal is to fill that gap and to bring closure to the family.

"Brendan's father, he said, ‘If we hadn't brought Brendan home ... I would still be at the lake waiting and wondering and hoping and grieving and suffering.’"

Lebus says the Legacy Water Search and Recovery Society is trying to raise $350,000 to purchase sonar equipment, a boat and an underwater vehicle.

The goal is to be operational next year.