After an extensive search effort, an Alberta man reported missing from a cabin in the North Okanagan on Saturday night has still not been found.
Police are looking for 57-year-old Bruce Van Hasstrecht, who is a seasonal resident of Mabel Lake.
RCMP confirm they were called to the cabin on Mabel Lake Road on Apr. 1 to determine Van Hasstrecht’s whereabouts.
During their investigation, officers did find evidence that Van Hasstrecht was at the lake’s edge at one point prior to his disappearance.
“At this time, Mr. Van Hasstrecht is considered missing,” RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said.
“Given the evidence that we found and the lack of other signs of his whereabouts, it is possible and suspected that he may have entered the water and may have perished.”
Vernon Search & Rescue manager Leigh Pearson said they were called in at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.
He said the man disappeared under strange circumstances. Pearson said police were first called by people passing by who noticed a vehicle was left in the man’s driveway with the doors open and the engine running.
“It was like that for several hours so they contacted police. The police went out and they located the subject and spoke to him and all seemed to be fine,” Pearson said.
Pearson said a second call to police involved similar circumstances.
“Some other people going by noticed the same vehicle parked about the same place with the doors wide open again. They drove back the same way several hours later and the vehicle was still there,” Pearson said.
“They went and looked around the cabin and went right down the water’s edge and located some debris floating in the water so they got a little concerned and called the RCMP.”
Vernon Search & Rescue put two boats on Mabel Lake and did a shoreline search with floodlights until about 4:00 a.m. with no success.
“The land around there is incredibly steep and quite treacherous with dead-falls and stuff, so we decided we’d wait and do that in the daylight,” Pearson said.
The search team returned to the area on Sunday, at around 9:00 a.m., and began a ground search for one square kilometre.
The RCMP brought a helicopter and members of the search team acted as spotters from the air.
Vernon Search & Rescue has now been stood down, but the RCMP continue to investigate.
“The RCMP are still working,” Pearson said. “Their dive team is coming in today or tomorrow.”
Pearson says Vernon Search & Rescue does not expect to be called back into service unless some new information comes to light that might lead the search in a different direction.
“It’s kind of disappointing we couldn’t resolve it,” Pearson said.
A search of Mabel Lake will resume once the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team arrives in Lumby.
With files from Kimberley Davidson and Megan Turcato
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