Police locate body of missing man near Bate Island, search for 2nd continues

The body of one of two adult men who disappeared Friday after fishing near Bate Island has been recovered, Ottawa police confirmed early Saturday morning. 

Witnesses saw two men 'carried away in the water,' police say

Fire crews search the Ottawa River near Bate Island for two missing men on July 31, 2020. (Amanda Pfeffer/CBC)

The body of one man who disappeared Friday after fishing near rapids along Bate Island has been recovered, Ottawa police say. Another man is still missing.

Search boats, a drone and a team of divers were able to locate the body around midnight, Ottawa police wrote in a release early Saturday morning. 

Police suspended their search Friday night due to low light conditions. The service told reporters on Saturday that drones have been flying since Saturday morning in search of the second man.

"We've combined ground search with approximately six or seven officers who are going to be searching the shorelines," said Ottawa police Insp. Russell Lucas. 

Russell Lucas is an inspector with the Ottawa Police Service. (Frederic Pepin/Radio-Canada)

Officers on both sides of the river, along with Ottawa and Gatineau's fire departments are assisting in search and rescue efforts. 

Ottawa police's marine, dive and trails unit has been on scene all day Saturday.

Lucas said officers are conducting visual searches along the shoreline, as well as using sonar to search the water. 

Emergency responders conducting a search for the second of two missing fisherman who disappeared near Bate Island on Friday, July 31, 2020. (Frederic Pepin/Radio-Canada)

Lucas said the service is "hoping for the best" in terms of finding the missing man.

"But the expectation right now is that we've already recovered one body and chances are that, unfortunately, the second [will be] a recovery as well," he said. 

Lucas said that first responders are taking into account various environmental conditions, including rocky and marshy areas, along with fast flowing sections of the river.

Police urge caution near river

Lucas recommends that anyone who plans on being out in the water or near the rapids should take "appropriate safety measures."

"Personal flotation devices are going to make it a safer way to enjoy days like today," he said, adding that he doesn't know whether either of the two men were wearing life jackets. 

The families of both men have been notified. Police said they are waiting until the second man is found or recovered before releasing their names or ages.

"We'll be discussing that with the family, before any identities are released," Lucas said. 

With files from CBC's Natalia Goodwin, Amanda Pfeffer and Brian Morris