On Sunday, July 24 Castlegar RCMP responded to a complaint that a vehicle appeared to have gone down an embankment into Arrow Lake. The report came from a boater who noticed debris leading to the water. Fortunately, RCMP officers were already on the lake doing a summer boat patrol so they were able to attend to the scene quickly.
The debris included a bumper, headlight and personal effects.
The spot where the vehicle left the road is located about ten kilometers past Syringa Creek Provincial Park on the road to Deer Park. Castlegar RCMP along with Castlegar Search and Rescue attended and searched the area.
Marc Savoie with Castlegar Search and Rescue (CSAR) described the area as steep with limited visibility, preventing a clear view from either the top or the bottom, which prevented them from being able to assess by sight if anyone had been ejected from the vehicle. Therefore, CSAR sent someone down the cliff to make sure no one was stranded on the embankment.
CSAR could see where the vehicle had entered the water, so they also deployed a boat team to do a shore search. Utilizing their sonar equipment, CSAR was able to locate where the vehicle was submerged in the water. Nine search and rescue crews including two from Rossland Search and Rescue participated in the operation.
The vehicle turned out to be a blue 2007 Dodge Caliber and it was found resting in 125 feet of water.
Initial attempts to locate the vehicle’s registered owner were unsuccessful, causing some concern that the owner may be in the vehicle. However, the registered owner was eventually contacted after she returned from being out of the area on a camping trip. She discovered her vehicle had been stolen from her residence while she was away.
The RCMP underwater recovery team was called in but did not locate anyone inside the vehicle. Indications at the point where the car left the roadway, primarily the lack of skid marks and tracks indicating the vehicle was driven at right angles to the road, point towards the vehicle being pushed or rolled into the water.
The vehicle was a blue 2007 Dodge Caliber. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact the Castlegar RCMP at (250)365-7721 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.