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Ice hampers search for missing man
Three people fall through ice into the Liard River; only two came out

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, May 3, 2012

The community of Nahanni Butte is still processing the events of April 27.

On Friday, three community members were on the Liard River when they all broke through the ice. Two of the residents were able to make it to shore and summon help. The third individual, a man, was still unaccounted for as of May 1.

"I think they are still in shock," said Chief Fred Tesou of the Nahanni Butte Dene Band about the community.

Tesou said it was quickly decided the ice was too dangerous to walk on so no one was able to search the area where the people fell in. That section of the river, located near the community's winter ice crossing, is known to be dangerous.

The ice in that area didn't freeze until the end of January and the ice crossing was curved to avoid it. The ice must have still been thin, Tesou said.

Despite not being able to go onto the ice, community members have been watching the area every day from the riverbank, he said.

After receiving a call about the incident at approximately 1 p.m. on Friday, members of the Fort Liard RCMP detachment responded in a helicopter. The helicopter flew almost at ground level above the site of the accident to conduct a search, said Sgt. Wes Heron, a media relations officer with G division.

The area downstream of the site was also searched by helicopter. Further aerial or ground searches are being hampered by ice coverage.

As per the wishes of the family, the name of the missing man hasn't been released, Heron said.

Heron said all NWT residents should stay away from waterways and lakes at this time during the spring melt.

"The ice conditions are deteriorating fast," he said.

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