WINNIPEG – A search for a missing snowmobiler east of Winnipeg has been called off after two days amid fears he fell through the ice and died.
Dan LeMay, 50, was out on his snow machine near Pinewood Lodge, about 120 kilometers from Winnipeg, on Sunday. He didn’t come back, prompting a massive search effort.
Police said LeMay called a family member around 7:15 Sunday night saying he wasn’t sure of his location, but he believed he was near Nutamik Lake.
He contacted his family hours later to say he was near Pinewood Lodge and that was the last time he and his family spoke to each other.
LeMay’s brother Wayne says investigators have moved their focus to a section of open water near Otter Falls where tracks matching Dan’s sled were found going toward the water but “not crossing to the other side”.
The RCMP says searchers believe LeMay fell into the water and didn’t come back up.
In a social media post, Wayne says the outcome seems inevitable, but he thanks everyone who came out to search for Dan and for supporting the family through a difficult time.
RCMP received two reports of a lone snowmobiler heading northbound on Eleanor Lake on the night of February 21, near the time Lemay was reported missing, which led aerial searchers to an area of open water.
“Trained ice rescue technicians attended the search location and located snowmobile tracks that led to broken ice, adding there were no tracks leading away from the site,” said the RCMP in a statement.
“Two days of searching by more than 50 volunteers and numerous trained search and rescue teams, which covered hundreds of kilometres of trails, did not lead to any other evidence of where Lemay or his snowmobile may have gone. Searchers believe Lemay entered the water and did not resurface. He is presumed drowned.”
Mounties added the search for LeMay will resume in the spring when the conditions are safe for a dive team to search for a body.