RCMP in the Northwest Territories have postponed their underwater search for the body of an Alberta man who they presumed drowned when the vehicle he was in sankin an icy lake.

Police expect to resume searching Giauque Lake for Jaxon Smith, 27, when temperatures warm up in the spring. On Friday, divers pulled up the Land Cruiser that he was travelling in, but they did not find his body inside. As well, an underwater camera showed no sign of Smith's body in the area.

Const. Roxanne Dreilich told CBC News that search efforts in the past week focused on the bottom of the lake, which is about 51 metres deep. But divers expressed concern about the cold weather, poor visibility and other conditions, she said.

"At a depth like that, and the temperatures that we're talking about, they only have approximately four minutes that they can be in the water," Dreilich said Tuesday. "So it's certainly not viable nor safe for the divers to just be searching blindly."

It is believed that Smith was in the back seat of the vehicle on Dec. 2 when it fell through the iceon the lake located about 100 kilometres north of Yellowknife. The driver and a second passenger escaped from the sinking Land Cruiser and suffered frostbite.

All three were employees with Tyhee Development Corp., a Vancouver-based mining company that has a gold project in the Giauque Lake area. But Dreilich said they were off duty at the time of the accident, scavenging wood for a fishing shack.

A memorial service for Smith was held in Yellowknife over the weekend. He grew up in Inuvik and Yellowknife, only moving to Edmonton recently. RCMP listed Smith's address as Wetaskiwin, Alta.