Brothers Daniel Courtoreille, left, and Michael Courtoreille from the Lesser Slave Lake area in Alberta were among the four fishermen who went missing on Great Slave Lake on Sept. 29.
Photo courtesy of the Courtoreille family

Still no sign has been found of four fishermen who went missing on Great Slave Lake on Sept. 29.

And the family members – who had travelled to Hay River to join in the searching – are all believed to have returned to their homes in Alberta and British Columbia.

Beatrice Lepine, who helped organize assistance for the missing fishermen’s families at the Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre, said, as far as she knows, all the family members have returned home as of the Oct. 19-20 weekend.

She said the last search by family members and community volunteers along the south shore of Great Slave Lake was on Oct. 17.

Lepine said some of the family members plan to return in the summer of 2020 to resume the search.

“Generally, we heard that from a number of them, saying they were going to come back and resume the search when they could get on the shoreline,” she said, noting there is now snow on the shore and the weather is getting colder.

Lepine said the families appreciated the help from Hay River residents, businesses and organizations.

“I think they were overwhelmed with how much this community supported them,” she said. “Because they were basically strangers. We didn’t know them, and they arrived here and the whole community basically took them in and provided for them in every way.”

Lepine noted that help for the families and for the search effort also came from surrounding communities and places in northern Alberta.

“It was really a northern effort,” she said.

The missing fishermen were previously identified by the RCMP as Daniel Courtoreille, 51, Michael Courtoreille, 50, and Jason Fulton, 40, all from the Lesser Slave Lake area in Alberta. The fourth missing fisherman was identified as Stacy Linington, 59, from Hay River.

In an Oct. 18 update, the Hay River RCMP reported that it had organized another air search of the area where it is believed the four fishermen went missing.

On Oct. 11, the RCMP worked with the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association and deployed an aircraft to further search the southern and western shoreline of Great Slave Lake.

“There were no reported sightings of the missing fishermen,” stated a news release from the police.

Also on Oct. 11, members of the missing fishermen’s families hired a helicopter to search the southern shore of the lake, but search results were negative.

While further searching is not planned at this time by the RCMP and its partner agencies, the missing fishermen file remains active for the police.

The RCMP stated that, should evidence regarding the possible location of the missing fishermen be brought forward, the search may be resumed.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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