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Search continues for Cree man presumed drowned near Waswanipi

A search in the Cree community of Waswanipi for the body of a young man last seen jumping into a nearby river for a swim after an evening of drinking is continuing, but local police say that adverse weather is making progress difficult.

Eric Happyjack was carried away by current after jumping into river following a night of drinking

A bridge runs over a river near the Cree community of Waswanipi. Eric Happyjack, a young man from the community, is presumed drowned after being swept away by the current last week. (CBC)

A search in the Cree community of Waswanipi for the body of a young man last seen jumping into a nearby river for a swim after an evening of drinking is continuing, but local police say that adverse weather is making progress difficult.

Eric Happyjack was last seen jumping in the river for a swim on June 2. 

His friends called the local police, saying they were unable to stop him, and that they saw him carried away by the current.

"We are not stopping the search," said Harry Sharl, commanding officer of the Eeyou Eenou Police Force in Waswanipi. "But at this time, the weather is not cooperating with us, as it is raining and it is cold."

An Eeyou Eenou Police Force van is seen parked near the riverbank, hitched to a search boat. Police have used boats to search the river over the past week for Happyjack's body, as well as heat-detection cameras and underwater divers. (CBC)

Divers with Quebec's provincial police helped in the search for three days. A helicopter with a heat-detection camera was also used, but turned up nothing.

Two local elders have volunteered to set up a net across the river not far from the bridge, where Happyjack was last seen. 

Sharl says the community is considering ways to prevent future incidents of this type from happening, including considering asking Quebec's transport department to put up a fence around the bridge.

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