Search for four men on Great Slave Lake goes into recovery mode

Leader staff

On October 4, the search for four fishermen moved into recovery mode, as they are no longer expect to be found alive.

“At this time, it is believed that all viable search options have been exhausted,” said an RCMP Oct. 3 media release. “With information to date, the probability of survival is low.”

On September 29, four men went out on a boat on Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories. Daniel Courtoreille, 51, Michael Courtoreille, 50, and Jason Fulton, 40, from Faust and Stacy Linington, 59, from Hay River, NT, says an RCMP media. 

Linington is from Hay River, but lives seasonally in Slave Lake.

Great Slave Lake is 27,200 square kilometers with a maximum depth of 614 metres, says the Canadian Encyclopedia. It is the second largest lake completely in Canada, the fifth largest in North America, and tenth in the world. It is the deepest glacier fed lake in North America or Europe. 

Hay River is on the south shore of Great Slave Lake.

The fishermen were on their way from Hay River to Sulphur Point to check their fishing nets, say the RCMP release. They were expected back that evening, but didn’t return. 

The search started on September 30, said the media release. The next day the team discovered the boat partially submerged.

For four days, the RCMP, Canadian Coast Guard, and others conducted an extensive aerial and water-based search. 

A vast portion of the lake was search for the missing fishermen, but the focus is on the area between the south shoreline and Windy Bay, near where the submerged boat was found, said the Oct. 4 media release. A remote operated underwater vehicle (ROV) was used to inspect the submerged boat. 

“Fishing debris, believed to be from the identified vessel, were located in the open water in the area, however, there have been no sightings of the missing fishermen after four days of searching,” said an October 4 update from the RCMP. 

“It’s been a difficult week for friends and family of the missing four men,” says Sgt Brandon Humbke, Hay River Detachment NCO in an Oct. 4 media release. “They were well-known and respected fishermen. We are working hard to try to collect any information and evidence that could bring answers to their loved-ones as to what happened.”

“As some community and family members may decide to conduct a search for the missing fishermen on their own, RCMP want to remind community volunteers to use extreme caution and plan ahead if venturing out on the land or water as weather conditions can be hazardous and unpredictable,” said the Oct. 4 media release.

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