Police search Bow, Oldman rivers for missing people

Police across southern Alberta are searching several rivers this week in a widespread effort to finally locate the bodies of numerous people who have been reported missing and still not found.

Co-ordinated aerial scan conducted by RCMP and police in Calgary, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge

Calgary police take part in river search for first time

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6 years ago
Calgary police combed for missing persons in the Bow River Tuesday. Const. Lynn MacDonald explain why CPS decided to join the RCMP effort. 0:49

Police across southern Alberta are searching several rivers this week in a widespread effort to finally locate the bodies of numerous people who have been reported missing and still not found.

There are currently 27 unresolved missing-person cases filed from communities along the Bow and Oldman rivers. In at least two of those cases, the missing people are known to have entered one of the rivers, according to the RCMP.

The Calgary Police Service also has several ongoing investigations in which missing people are believed to have entered the Bow River, which flows into the South Saskatchewan River.

'Sad reality'

Const. Lynn MacDonald with the CPS Missing Persons Team said the search isn't for a particular person, as the "sad reality" is that there are numerous cases in which people either enter the water voluntarily or accidentally and can't make their way out.

Const. Lynn MacDonald with the Calgary Police Service's Missing Persons Team. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

She said the goal is to hopefully deliver some answers, finally, to the families of missing people.

"A lot of the families we are still in contact with," MacDonald said. "As the years go by, families try to move ahead but we have a lot of missing persons cases and there are always new ones coming in. So we are not able to stay up on communications as much as we like to, but we try to do that."

Bow River to be searched by helicopter

With water being especially low and clear on the Bow and South Saskatchewan rivers at this time of year, Calgary police — along with RCMP and officers from the Lethbridge and Medicine Hat — are conducting aerial searches of the waterways on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In Calgary, specifically, police are sending a helicopter along the Bow River from the Bearspaw Dam in the northwest all the way south to the city limits.

Divers with the Calgary Fire Department are ready to be deployed to search more closely should anything be spotted from the air.


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