Mission man missing on Kinbasket Lake

Nearly 20 people helping authorities search for missing men

A Mission man is one of two people reported missing on Kinbasket Lake on Monday.

Mission’s Mike Murphy and Al Healy from Osoyoos were in the area working on the Mica Dam, about 135 km north of Revelstoke. According to police, the men left the Mica boat ramp to go fishing in a four-metre aluminum boat around 6:30 p.m., and failed to show up in their rooms at night. Their truck was located at the boat launch at nightfall.

“The information we have is the boat proceeded almost west from that boat launch and hasn’t been seen since,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky. “We have a rough direction but no specific location. It’s a big, huge reservoir.”

Now close to 20 people are looking for the pair, including police, search and rescue, BC Hydro, family, friends, and other volunteers.

“We’re trying to keep up good spirits and positive thoughts,” said Murphy’s son Richard, who set off to Mica Creek with his brother and sister within hours of hearing the news. Healy is also Richard’s uncle.

“We got here [Tuesday] night and started searching,” said Richard, who was joined by a second brother and mother Wednesday. “We searched until it was dark.”

Some debris was found Tuesday, including a seat and cooler, but searchers don’t know where the items came from, explained Richard. “They can float quite a distance.”

There is 300 square kilometres of lake that is being searched in addition to the shoreline, said Richard. “It takes about an hour to do a square kilometre. We have to do it slowly because we don’t want to hit the boat if it’s underwater.”

Four boats and a helicopter were scouring the area Wednesday, but have not turned up anything else.

Richard was expecting his father back for the August long weekend where they would have enjoyed a family reunion and a celebration to mark his parents’ 31st wedding anniversary.

“He was doing an extended trip because they were wrapping up a job.”

Richard’s dad, who works as an industrial electrician with Western Pacific Enterprises, has been servicing the site for six years.

The Kinbasket Reservoir is more than 200 metres deep near the Mica Dam and is still not at full pool. It stretches from Mica, 150 kilometres north of Revelstoke, almost to Valemount in the north and also extends south towards Golden.

– with files from Revelstoke Times Review