By Keith McNeill
Clearwater RCMP have confirmed that a 31-year-old woman from Regina fell into the fast-flowing Mad River north of Vavenby on Friday evening, May 11. She has not been seen since.
According to Sgt. Grant Simpson, police received a 911 call at 8:57 p.m. that evening from a 36-year-old Regina man who reported that his girlfriend, also of Regina, had just fallen into the Mad River and been swept away in the fast flowing current. Clearwater RCMP, Wells Gray Search and Rescue, BC Ambulance, and Victim Services all responded.
Patrols and searches were conducted along the riverbank from the location where the female was last seen to the railroad bridge over the North Thompson River approximately two km south the location. However, they did not find any signs of the woman.
Simpson said that investigation at this point has revealed that the two were traveling back from Vancouver to Edmonton, but they didn’t have to be in Edmonton until Monday.
The male, a truck driver, dropped his load at a pull-out north of McMurphy Station Road and the pair drove back to the Mad River pull-out and went for a walk.
They found the old Highway 5 trestle bridge and climbed onto it. The female was traversing the crossbeams on the lower portion of the bridge when she slipped and fell approximately 30 feet into the Mad River running below.
She was quickly swept away into the North Thompson River which is also flowing very rapidly.
An RCMP helicopter was also dispatched to aid in the search for the missing woman with negative results thus far.
The investigation into this incident and the search for the missing woman are ongoing.
According to a Wells Gray Search and Rescue spokesperson, about 12 volunteers from WGSAR took part in the search.
They got the call from Emergency Coordination Centre shortly after the police were called, he said.
The old highway bridge across the Mad River is located a short distance upstream from the present highway bridge and the confluence with the North Thompson River.
The section of the North Thompson near the confluence is known as the Mad River Rapids and, at this time of year, is the site of extreme whitewater.