Husband dies, wife survives 8 days after canoe capsizes in northern Sask.

A woman has survived eight days in the northern Saskatchewan wilderness after her canoe capsized and her husband perished.

David and Enid Dice were avid travellers

An overturned canoe was spotted on Kinosaskaw Lake near a set of rapids known as Needle Falls. (Submitted by RCMP)
Photos published to a personal blog of David Dice show him and his wife on some of their travels. (Wordpress)
A woman survived eight days in the northern Saskatchewan wilderness after her canoe capsized and her husband perished.

The woman who survived is Enid Dice, 62, and the man who died is her husband, David Dice, 66.

On Tuesday, a float plane pilot spotted the canoe and the man's body on Kinosaskaw Lake, near a set of rapids known as Needle Falls. The lake is about 45 kilometres northeast of Pinehouse, Sask.

She didn't try to get out. She was waiting for help.- Search plane pilot Paul Ricklefs

RCMP were contacted and a search-and-rescue team found the body of the man and police realized he and his wife had been reported missing eight days earlier. 

A few hours later, the search-and-rescue team spotted the woman. She had lit a fire and was waving at the aircraft.

Paul Ricklefs was the pilot of one of the search-and-rescue planes involved. He told CBC News Wednesday that Enid Dice seemed to know what she needed to do in order to be found.

"She seemed well prepared for us," Ricklefs said. "[She had] a large fire going. She was waving a piece of fluorescent fabric. All the textbook things that you need to do when you're in the bush. She was in her original location. She hadn't moved. She didn't try to get out. She was waiting for help."

RCMP used a float plane to reach her.

"The members hiked into the area where the woman was located and brought her out to the plane," RCMP spokeswoman Mandy Maier said Wednesday.

David Dice was an avid traveller, friends say, and enjoyed many adventures. He would share his stories in a personal blog. This image was from a canoe trip. (Wordpress)
The woman was taken to hospital in La Ronge but had no injuries.

"She had survived eight days out in the wilderness using her extensive experience," said Maier. "So it was a pretty phenomenal story."

Police said she's alive thanks to her outdoor experience and survival skills.

The couple, from Prince Albert, were on a canoe trip from Pinehouse to Missinipe. According to RCMP, one of their adult sons contacted police on Aug. 20 to report that he had not received any update from the couple's satellite tracking device in three days.

RCMP then alerted local outfitters in Saskatchewan's north to keep an eye out for the two.

The float plane operator, who was transporting fisherman to a remote lake, then spotted a canoe and, after closer inspection, what the operator believed to be a body in the water. RCMP then mobilized search and rescue.

"It's a tragic moment," Ellen Grewcock, a friend of the couple for over 20 years, told CBC News Wednesday. "Dave was very involved in our community. He cared about kids at school. We coached kids together."

Avid travellers

Dice was a retired chemistry teacher and athletics coach at Carlton Comprehensive High School in Prince Albert.

After some 30 years in teaching, Dice spent his retirement time travelling with his wife and their sons.

"He was a great man who loved what he did and chose to be a teacher," Dawn Kilmer, the current principal at Carlton High, told CBC News Wednesday. "He could have done anything in fields that would have made him a wealthy man in terms of money; but he chose to be a wealthy man in terms of impacting and changing the world by teaching and leading."

The survivor of the canoe accident was found about 400 kilometres north of Prince Albert, Sask. (Google Maps)

Kilmer said Dice was especially interested in exploring the world and taking adventures into the wilderness with his family and would document their experiences on a blog and with photography.

"They don't do things that they don't know or haven't worked hard at understanding," Kilmer said, of the couple's adventures. "I was horrified [at what happened], but not surprised that she could manage."

According to Grewcock, also a teacher, the couple had celebrated their 40th anniversary a year ago.

She said news of what happened on the canoe trip came as a surprise.

"Shocked. Totally shocked. Because I know the skills they had as far as wilderness and canoeing," Grewcock said. "You just don't think it's ever going to happen to those people who do it all the time and know the way of the water and the woods and the hiking. This was not a new experience for him to go hiking and canoeing."