Calgary, AB,

Agencies come together to search Bow River

Once again, the Calgary Police Service, the Calgary Fire Department, RCMP and the Calgary Search and Rescue Association (CALSARA) will be conducting a search of the Bow River in an attempt to find any missing persons who may have ended up in or on the banks of the river.

Beginning at 10 a.m., on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, CPS will use HAWCS to conduct an aerial search, while CPS, CFD and CALSARA conduct ground and water searches of the Bow River and its banks. This year, searches will also be conducted in Elbow River Park and the Glenmore Reservoir.

The search will begin at the Bearspaw Dam in the northwest and move south to the city limits within Calgary. While CPS, CFD and CALSARA search the Bow River within the Calgary, the Alberta RCMP Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Unit will deploy the RCMP helicopter along the Bow River from the southern city limits and continue east toward the Saskatchewan border. The search is being conducted as water levels are at their lowest and clearest at this time of year.

It is an unfortunate reality that of the roughly 3,500 missing persons reported to police annually, a small number have voluntarily or involuntarily entered our waterways and have not been able to get out.

“This is the fourth year we have partnered with other Calgary agencies to conduct this search,” said CPS Major Crimes Section Inspector Monty Sparrow. “This search is part of our ongoing efforts to provide answers to the families of missing persons.”

“We’re pleased to partner with police and CALSARA to support this search,” said Assistant Deputy Chief Peter Steenaerts with the CFD. “We’re fortunate to have specialized equipment, such as boats and specially trained divers, to support this initiative.”

"Alberta RCMP are proud to have been a part of this initiative since its inception," said Staff Sergeant Jason Zazulak of the Alberta RCMP Missing Persons/Unidentified Remains Unit. "The partnership we have developed with the Calgary Police Service through this, and other joint initiatives, helps us achieve our goal of solving these missing person investigations, and providing families and loved ones of missing people some of the answers they seek."

“This is the second year our trained, dedicated volunteers have assisted with the Bow River search,” said Janine Steffan, a search manager with CALSARA. “We are proud of the longstanding partnerships we have with both CPS and CFD and are pleased to support in any way we can.”

Should any bodies be retrieved, CPS would work with the Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the identity of the individual and ensure no criminal offence has been committed.