Search called off for missing snowmobiler in Whiteshell Provincial Park
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba RCMP has called off the search for a snowmobiler missing in Whiteshell Provincial Park since Sunday.
RCMP made the call Tuesday evening and said 50-year-old Danny LeMay is presumed dead.
More than 50 volunteers, along with trained search and rescue teams spent the last two days scouring the back woods of the Whiteshell Provincial Park searching for LeMay.
On Sunday evening, LeMay, a father of three from Grunthal, went out alone on his snowmobile from the Pinewood Lodge on Dorothy Lake where he was staying.
RCMP said he headed out around 4 p.m. to Rennie to tow back a broken snowmobile.
At around 7:15 p.m., LeMay called his family to say he was lost and running low on fuel. He phoned back at 9:15 p.m., saying he thought he was close to the lodge. It was the last contact he had with family.
LeMay never made it home, and was reported missing Sunday evening.
Mounties said the search teams covered hundreds of kilometres of trails, but it did not lead to any evidence of where LeMay or his snowmobile may have gone.
RCMP received two reports that a lone snowmobiler had headed onto Eleanor Lake on Sunday night, near the time LeMay was reported missing. RCMP launched aerial searches of the lake, and trained ice rescue technicians discovered snowmobile tracks that led to a broken section of ice.
There were no tracks leading away from the site, RCMP said.
“Based on the factors we’re seeing now, we strongly believe the snow machine fell in the open water and didn’t resurface,” said Sgt. Paul Manaigre with Manitoba RCMP.
In a statement, LeMay’s brother Wayne thanked everyone who helped in the search.
“You truly left everything out on the trail,” he said.
“We have no words.”
Wayne said people have been asking how they can help, noting there are some real needs that will continue with household expenses and support for his brother’s three boys.
“The generosity of strangers and friends was the most incredibly moving thing that we saw during the search efforts,” Wayne said.
A GoFundMe has been set up for those who wish to help out.
RCMP said with the currents, it is too dangerous to deploy dive teams.
"We’re going to have to wait for the spring melt, and hopefully, we’ll get some closure for the family,” Manaigre said.