North Vancouver RCMP have confirmed a second person is missing and presumed drowned following an incident that saw a sudden release of water from the Cleveland Dam.
Around 1:45 p.m. Thursday, the dam’s spillway suddenly opened. Over the course of a couple minutes, the water level on the Capilano River swelled up more than three metres and the flow rate went from a trickle to more than 400 cubic metres per second, sending anglers scrambling for safety.
One man in distress died after rescuers pulled him from the water Thursday.
RCMP say a second 27-year-old man is still missing.
Searchers from North Shore Rescue, the Vancouver Police Marine Unit, and the RCMP have been on the river since first light Friday looking for the second victim.
“So far, we have not had any success in finding the person who was swept down,” said Sgt. Peter DeVries, North Vancouver RCMP spokesman.
Police aren’t releasing the names of either of the men, or what relationship they may have had.
Before an update to the media, DeVries exchanged some quiet words with a group of young mourners who’d gathered in Capilano River Regional Park.
“It's sad,” DeVries said, holding back tears. “I really feel for people in this situation. Words can't express how difficult it is when something so tragic happens with the loss of life, when friends and loved ones don’t have answers.”
The search will resume, he added, and the RCMP’s dive team will join the effort.
“We're going to keep looking for him,” DeVries said.
Metro Vancouver, which controls the dam, has started its own investigation into what happened. The BC Coroners Service will be expected to investigate the death of the first victim. The 27-year-old is currently classified as a missing person.
DeVries said so far there is nothing to suggest that the RCMP will be required to conduct a criminal investigation into the incident, but that could change depending on what the other investigations reveal.
“We’re not closing off any possibilities,” he said.
The river is still busy with anglers enjoying salmon season. DeVries said there is no clear risk posed by the dam now, but he said any recreational activity in the river can be dangerous.