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Tragic incidents see four killed in outdoor activities

The last missing person from a boat that capsized Sunday near Spray Lakes campground was found deceased Tuesday afternoon, police said.
RCMP

BOW VALLEY – Four people dead in separate outdoor incidents July 9 and 10 in the area of Canmore and Banff.

Three people died in a tragic boating accident in the area of Spray Lakes campground on July 10 and a man fell more than 1,000 metres when he lost his footing while scrambling on Mount Temple on July 9.

A boat with four people capsized Sunday (July 10) afternoon, with one person being confirmed deceased and another was able to rescue themselves, while emergency services searched for 48 hours for two missing boaters. Police said they were alerted at about 2 p.m. to a boat capsizing.

Rescuers found the body of one of the missing men Monday afternoon (July 11) at about 3 p.m. and the second on Tuesday (July 12) at roughly 4 p.m., police said.

Canmore RCMP, Kananaskis Emergency Services, cadaver dog, and Alberta conservation officers were on the scene. STARS Air Ambulance also responded to the call, but was stood down after it arrived at the scene.

“Alberta RCMP sends their deepest condolences to all those affected by this tragedy,” police said in a media release.

“Respecting the privacy of the families during this difficult time, no further information will be provided.”

The Mount Temple incident saw emergency services from Lake Louise RCMP, Lake Louise Fire Rescue and Parks Canada respond to the call shortly before noon July 9.

Parks Canada said the man was with a group of three scramblers and ascending the summit ridge when a cornice fell and he lost his footing and slipped on a patch of snow and ice in the scrambling terrain.

He was found deceased about 1000 metres (3,300-feet) from the site of the fall with Parks Canada’s helicopter and visitor safety specialists responding, James Eastham, a spokesperson for the Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay field units.

“Parks Canada would like to extend their sincere condolences to the family and friends of this individual,” he said.

“Visitor safety is a top priority for Parks Canada. This incident emphasizes the risk that this year’s lingering snow can pose. Large cornices remain on many alpine ridges, and they can be prone to collapse during warmer parts of the day. In addition to the hazards posed by cornices, visitors travelling in the alpine should expect to encounter snow and winter hazards above 2,100 metres.”

Eastham said anyone seeking technical information for advanced alpine objectives can call the Banff dispatch at 403-762-1470 and speak with a visitor safety specialist.

Const. Lauren Mowbray, a media relations officer with the Alberta RCMP, said the identity and age of the man would not be released per the family’s wishes.

“They’re understandably distraught,” she said.

“They were experienced hikers and there was snow and ice there. A chunk [of ice] had come off and he lost his footing.”

Mount Temple is located in Banff National Park near the British Columbia and Alberta border, south of Lake Louise.

The Edmonton Journal reported the man was 42-year-old Matt Miller of Edmonton, who worked as a dealer principal for Lexus of Edmonton.

“It is with incredibly heavy hearts we announce the passing of our dealer principal and good friend, Matt Miller,” Lexus of Edmonton posted on its Facebook and Instagram accounts.

STARS responded with emergency medical services to a single vehicle collision at Castle Mountain Junction Monday (July 11).

Mount Temple is recommended as a summer climb, according to Parks Canada’s website, with the route conditions best suited after winter snow has melted from the peak, which is typically in mid-July.

Eastham said when people head into the backcountry of Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks, they should pack extra clothing layers, have bear spray and bring a flashlight. It’s also recommended to have a trip plan, travel with a group, select a trip that suits the skill level of the people involved and check the weather forecast.

“Our team of mountain safety professionals are out in the field every day collecting information to update the avalanche rating and forecast,” Eastham said. “The team trains regularly and is available for rapid response to backcountry incidents. Should you need our help, call 911 or the Banff National Park dispatch emergency line at 403-762-4506.”

Lyle Aspinall, a digital communications specialist with STARS, said a man in his 60s was involved in the collision in the area of Highway 93 and Marble Canyon campground.

He was transported to Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary in non life-threatening condition.