It’s still not clear what caused a fatal boat collision on Osoyoos Lake on Saturday evening that claimed the lives of a a 35-year-old man from Kamloops and a 36-year-old man from Maple Ridge.
And it could take some time to determine a cause, according to Osoyoos RCMP Sgt. Jason Bayda.
“It’s going to be a lengthy investigation,” he said. “This isn’t like a car accident where there’s skid marks on the road. Water is different.”
The accident took place after 7 p.m. on Saturday, In addition to the two deaths, three other men were hospitalized, two in critical condition and one in stable condition.
Bayda praised bystanders who hurried out into the water on boats and rescued the men.
“Those three people that were saved were saved because of those people willing to step up and help,” he said. “Any time you have the public coming out to help like this we appreciate it and I’m sure those people do as well.”
Osoyoos resident Rick Propp helped bring one of the men to shore. A neighbour knocked on his door, told him about the accident and asked if they could use Propp’s boat to help.
“You could see debris in the water, so we went over, then the kids were waving. They were holding onto the bow of the fishing boat,” Propp said.
One of the men was pulled into Propp’s boat and the other two were placed on a skiff.
Propp noticed the man was bleeding and injured, saying he seemed to be in shock.
“I don’t think we realized how bad it was until we pulled them out,” he said. “They were so in shock that they didn’t realize.”
The men were brought to shore on the west side of the lake near Magnolia Place and taken to hospital. The bodies of the two men who died were recovered by divers on Sunday.
As for how the collision happened, RCMP have no concrete answers.
“We’ve heard lots of different things and right now we’re simply just not going to speculate,” Bayda said. “We’re going to let our analysts who are the professionals look at all the evidence … By the end of it, we’ll know what happened here.”
Mounties are now focusing on gathering evidence. Both of the boats, which sank following the crash, have been recovered and taken to a compound, where marine analysts will examine the watercraft.
Underwater divers will continue to scan the bottom of the lake for more clues.
“They will at this point take in all the evidence, gather more, and it’s really a fact-finding mission now,” Bayda said.
“We’re really hoping that those that actually saw the accident or even the boats previous to the accident will call us. Anyone that has video surveillance around their house, security cameras, if you can view those, really, anything could be important to us.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact RCMP at 250-495-7236.