Calgary, AB,

Agencies mark five years searching Bow River

For the fifth year in a row, 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. 26, 2019, 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, aerial 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 5,000 missing persons reported to police annually, a small number have voluntarily or involuntarily entered our waterways and have not been able to get out.

“Although in the past four years, no remains have been recovered during this search, we continue to believe that this is a worthwhile initiative that has the potential to provide answers to the family and friends of those with missing loved ones,” said CPS Homicide Unit Staff Sergeant Martin Schiavetta.

“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 third year our trained, dedicated volunteers have assisted the Calgary Police Service and the Calgary Fire Department with the Bow River search,” said Bradley Maxwell, Community Relations Director with CALSARA. “We are also very pleased to have Cochrane Search and Rescue as well as Foothills Search and Rescue join CALSARA in the search effort.”

Should any remains 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.