News Online: Two boaters still missing in Coal Lake as search enters its third day

Published online at on May 21, 2012.

Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton: Monday, May 21, 2012

Two boaters still missing in Coal Lake as search enters its third day

There’s still no sign of two boaters who went missing in Coal Lake, as the search for the young men entered its third day Monday.

Police came up with few new leads despite bringing in divers and using underwater sonar equipment to scan the lake bottom.

“We did have a couple of what we thought were positive hits on the bottom of the lake,” said Cpl. Kevin Krebs with Wetaskiwin RCMP.

“Unfortunately it turned out to be debris on the bottom.”

Everett Westerneng, 19, and Dallas Simons, 26, set out on a small boat to go fishing on the lake Friday.

When Westerneng and Simons didn’t return home when they were supposed to, their families descended into the area looking for them and haven’t left the lake since.

It’s been a sombre Victoria Day for family and friends of the missing men. Many spent most of Monday sitting along the shore, waiting for any word on Westerneng and Simons.

“The family is getting very anxious of course. We’re trying to hopefully bring this to a quick conclusion for them,” Krebs said.

Strong winds in the area are making the recovery effort difficult.

“The divers have a difficult time getting in and out of the water with it,” Krebs said.

“With the wave action it’s now disturbing the bottom of the lake.”

Police say too much activity on the water can interfere with the sonar scanner and placement of marker buoys.

“It does take quite a bit of time to go back and forth and scan and when we do get a hit, they throw the buoy out and then if the boats come by with the wave action or they run into them, then we’ll lose the buoys and we’re right back to square one,” Krebs explained.

Family, friends and police have been searching Coal Lake for days.

The search turned into a recovery mission on Sunday.

An overturned boat which belonged to one of the men was discovered by police on Saturday along with personal equipment in the water, which police say also belonged to one of the two boaters.

Police do not believe the two men were wearing lifejackets.

At this point it’s still unclear what happened to Westerneng and Simons.

But police say as long as the resources are available, they will continue searching until the men are found.

“We’re going to have to play it each day at a time and go from there,” Krebs said.

With files from Amanda Anderson

Click here to read the article on the CTV Edmonton website.

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