Saskatchewan resident Jessie Lavallee, age 31, is believed to have fallen off the old highway bridge at Mad River and drowned.

Military joins search for missing woman swept away in B.C. river

Saskatchewan woman reportedly fell off of old Mad River trestle bridge, not been seen since

Members of the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group from 100 Mile House has joined the search for 31-year-old Jessie Lavallee, who is believed to have been swept away by the current after falling into Mad River.

How long the members of the unit would remain part of the search was not clear at this time.

The Canadian Rangers are a sub-component of the Canadian Armed Forces that provide a limited military presence in rural and remote areas of the nation.

Clearwater RCMP earlier confirmed that the 31-year-old woman from Saskatchwan fell into the fast-flowing Mad River north of Vavenby on Friday evening, May 11. She has not been seen since.

According to Sgt. Grant Simpson, police received a 911 call at 8:57 p.m. that evening from a 36-year-old Regina man who reported that his girlfriend, also of Regina, had just fallen into the Mad River and been swept away in the fast flowing current. Clearwater RCMP, Wells Gray Search and Rescue, BC Ambulance, and Victim Services all responded.

Patrols and searches were conducted along the riverbank from the location where the female was last seen to the railroad bridge over the North Thompson River approximately two km south the location. However, they did not find any signs of the woman.

Simpson said that investigation at this point has revealed that the two were traveling back from Vancouver to Edmonton, but they didn’t have to be in Edmonton until Monday.

The male, a truck driver, dropped his load at a pull-out north of McMurphy Station Road and the pair drove back to the Mad River pull-out and went for a walk.

They found the old Highway 5 trestle bridge and climbed onto it. The female was traversing the crossbeams on the lower portion of the bridge when she slipped and fell approximately 30 feet into the Mad River running below.

READ MORE: Timbers for trestles from Ernie Dee’s sawmill

She was quickly swept away into the North Thompson River which is also flowing very rapidly.

An RCMP helicopter was also dispatched to aid in the search for the missing woman with negative results thus far.

The investigation into this incident and the search for the missing woman are ongoing.

According to a Wells Gray Search and Rescue spokesperson, about 12 volunteers from WGSAR took part in the search.

They got the call from Emergency Coordination Centre shortly after the police were called, he said.

The old highway bridge across the Mad River is located a short distance upstream from the present highway bridge and the confluence with the North Thompson River.

The section of the North Thompson near the confluence is known as the Mad River Rapids and, at this time of year, is the site of extreme whitewater.

Members of the missing woman’s family arrived in Clearwaer on Sunday evening after an 18-hour drive from Saskatchewan.

They were unhappy that it took about 20 hours for police to inform them of the incident.

“We’re not leaving until we find my baby,” said her mother, Leona Lavallee. “We have too many unanswered questions.”



newsroom@clearwatertimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

A photo from BC Archives shows the former highway bridge across the Mad River. It is located upstream from the present highway bridge. A woman from Regina reportedly fell off the trestle portion of the bridge on Friday evening, May 11.

Just Posted

Port Hardy council hesitant to formalize question period in agendas, refers it to committee

In first act as new council, representatives were uncertain about formalizing question periods.

Gas prices on Vancouver Island to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

Mt. Waddington’s Salvation Army releases eye-opening statistics report for 2017

Shelter overnight stays saw a 431 per cent increase since 2014.

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

BC Ferries passengers wait to leave Vancouver Island after Remembrance Day

Traffic aboard BC Ferries slows after Remembrance Day long weekend

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Most Read