Photo: Search and Rescue Crews pack up as the search is suspended – Adam Reaburn/Energeticcity.ca
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That’s RCMP Constable Jackelynn Passarell releasing the news Clayton’s family didn’t want to hear. After 4 days of searching, the RCMP and North Peace Search and Rescue decided to suspend the search at about 2:30 this afternoon. The Search will resume in 3 to 4 days. At the height of the search over 30 people from various groups including North, South and Tumbler Ridge Search and Rescue were involved. On Sunday the RCMP Dive Team arrived and helped in the search. Constable Passarell says they even called in BC Hydro to help lower the water level of the Peace River.
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The RCMP and Clayton’s family would like to thank everyone who took time out of their day to help in the effort to find Clayton Russ. We will have more on this story shortly.
Press Release from the Fort St. John RCMP
After an exhaustive search of the Pine and Peace Rivers, the RCMP and Search and Rescue personnel have suspended their search for 22 year old Clayton RUSS. The decision was made at 1430 hours today, after a comprehensive search of the Pine River and Peace River was unsuccessful in locating the missing swimmer.
The family of Clayton RUSS, who have been an active part of the search efforts since Friday afternoon, are requesting privacy in this very difficult and tragic time.
The RCMP and the family of Clayton RUSS wish to extend their gratitude to all the businesses and community partners that assisted in this search. This search was a joint effort of several agencies and their dedication and hard work to this search effort demonstrates the strong community ties that are present in the Peace area.
This search effort began on Friday afternoon after the RCMP and Taylor Fire Department received a 911 call reporting that a swimmer had been pulled under the water. North Peace Search and Rescue was immediately activated and attended to the scene with volunteers and equipment. As the Taylor Fire Department volunteers scanned the shorelines and waterways on foot, Search and Rescue personnel entered the water and initiated the water search. A Police Dog handler attended the scene with a Police Dog to assist in the shoreline search.
Additional search and rescue personnel were called in from the South Peace and Tumbler Ridge area. In total, thirty two search and rescue volunteers actively assisted in the search throughout the weekend and into today.
Bailey Helicopters immediately offered their assistance by donating one of their helicopters and a pilot to conduct an aerial search of the Pine and Peace Rivers. Bailey Helicopters continued to extended their resources throughout the duration of the search.
The RCMP Dive team was activated and with the support of the RCMP Air Services Section, the team members were picked up from different locations throughout the Province and joined the search efforts on Saturday evening. The dive team members searched under the water and used a sonar device to assist in the search.
BC Hydro was able to go above and beyond with their assistance in this search effort by decreasing the flow of water through their hydro-electric dams, which essentially lowered the water level of the Peace River. This action greatly assisted the search personnel with their search of the two rivers.
The RCMP’s victim’s services unit was present at the command centre throughout the search, assisting the family with updates on the status of the search and ensuring that all search personnel were provided with food supplies and support.
In conclusion, the RCMP and Clayton RUSS’s family wish to extend their gratitude to the community volunteers that answered the call for assistance and dedicated their time and vessels to helping with the search. We would also like to thank numerous businesses in town that permitted their employee’s to leave work in order to volunteer with the Search and Rescue teams.
Although this search did not come to a successful conclusion in locating Clayton RUSS, the dedication and hard work that were demonstrated by everyone involved is deeply commendable. Search and Rescue personnel will continue to assess the situation and may initiate further searches of the Pine and Peace Rivers in a few days time.
The Fort St. John RCMP wish to ask the boating public to continue to be cognizant of the situation and report any suspicious sightings in the area of the Pine River and the Peace River to 250-787-8140.