Search enters 2nd day for man believed to have been swept down Coquihalla River

A desperate search is expected to resume Friday after witness reports of a man being swept down the Coquihalla River, east of Hope.

RCMP say they were called around 4.p.m Thursday after a woman saw a man in blue shorts floating face-down in the river near the Othello Tunnels.

A search, which included members of the RCMP as well as local search and rescue groups, was launched shortly after.

Crews searched for hours into Thursday evening, using an RCMP and local helicopters to help comb the river from above, but the efforts were suspended overnight as darkness fell.

This chopper was flying slowly over the Coquihalla River tonight near Hope. RCMP confirmed to us a woman reported seeing a man’s body floating face down. Others on the river say a man was crossing in a rubber dingy but never made it. Search will likely resume Friday @CTVVancouver

— Alissa Thibault (@AlissaMThibault) July 3, 2020

RCMP say during the course of their search they came across several other witnesses who reported seeing a man with a similar description trying to cross the fast-moving river.

“A male was crossing the river in a rubber dinghy, like a tube, and that he didn’t get across," said William Vandebrand with Hope RCMP. "His clothing description matched the person who was spotted down-river."

Searchers found no sign of the man Thursday. He is believed to be in his 50s and was last seen wearing blue swimming shorts. Police believe the man lives in the area.

RCMP say water levels have lead to dangerous conditions on the river.

"Right now with all the rain, the water is very high and fast," Vandebrand said. "Not a place you want to be."

Friday’s search is expected to include police and search and rescue crews when it resumes. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Alissa Thibault