Calgary, AB,

Media Availability – Agencies mark six years searching Bow River

Representatives from the Calgary Police Service, Calgary Fire Department, Cochrane Fire Services and the Calgary Search and Rescue Association (CALSARA) will be available for media regarding the Bow River search.

Date/time: Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020 at 9 a.m.

Location: Bearspaw Dam Emergency Boat Launch

Located between Stoney Trail N.W. and Baker Park

Access via 85 Street N.W.

Spokespersons: Martin Schiavetta, Staff Sergeant, Calgary Police Service

Carol Henke, Public Information Officer, Calgary Fire Department

Jeff Avery, Public Information Officer, Cochrane Fire Services

Bradley Maxwell, Search Team Leader, CALSARA



News Release

Agencies mark six years searching Bow River

For the sixth year in a row, the Calgary Police Service (CPS), the Calgary Fire Department (CFD), the RCMP and the Calgary Search and Rescue Association (CALSARA), along with new partner Cochrane Fire Services (CFS), will be conducting a search of the Bow River in an attempt to find any missing persons who may be found in or on the banks of the river.

Beginning at 9:30 a.m., on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, CPS will use HAWCS to conduct an aerial search, while CPS, CFD, CFS 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, CFS and CALSARA search the Bow River within the Calgary city limits, the Alberta RCMP Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Unit will deploy the RCMP helicopter, weather permitting, 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.

In the event the weather does not permit aerial search efforts, the ground and water searches will still be carried out within city limits.

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 located.

"Though we have yet to recover any remains of missing persons in the past five years of conducting this search, we believe this is a worthwhile effort as there is always the potential to find answers and bring some closure to the families and friends of missing loved ones,” said Staff Sergeant Martin Schiavetta of the Calgary Police Service Homicide Unit. “This year, we are focusing our efforts on the location of Shane Eric James SMITH’s remains, who is believed to have been killed earlier this year. His remains have not yet been located.”

“The Calgary Fire Department is committed to doing all we can to help our partner agencies in these searches. We cannot imagine the feelings of loss and helplessness families experience, not being able to put their loved one to rest,” said Carol Henke, Public Information Officer of the Calgary Fire Department.

Alberta RCMP’s Missing Persons Unit is proud to be part of this annual operation with the Calgary Police Service,” said Staff Sergeant Jason Zazulak of the Alberta RCMP Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Unit. “This partnership provides another important avenue of investigation in our goal of solving missing person investigations that will help provide families and loved ones with the answers they seek.”

"Calgary Search and Rescue have over 50 highly trained volunteers scheduled to attend the annual Bow River search this year. We are proud to assist our city and our tasking agencies on such a meaningful and worthwhile endeavour. Our team of volunteers stand ready year-round to assist when called upon,” said Search Team Leader Bradley Maxwell of CALSARA.

“As a new agency joining this year’s mission, Cochrane Fire Services and our Technical Rescue Team members are excited to know we can play a part in the search for missing persons and hopefully bring closure to grieving families and friends,” said Shawn Polley, Interim Fire Chief of Cochrane Fire Services.

Should any remains be located during the search, CPS would work with the Medical Examiner's Office to determine the identity of the individual and ensure no criminal offence has been committed.