It was a bad few days on the water in lakes east of Smith. A canoeist and a diver drowned in separate incidents on lakes between Smith and Athabasca – one on July 13 and the other on July 15.
The first incident was on Chain Lakes. According to an RCMP release a couple of days later, two teenaged males were canoeing on the lake when their craft capsized. One was able to swim to shore; the other – an 18-year-old – wasn’t.
The big wind, rain and thunderstorm of that evening had something to do with the canoe overtuning. The 17-year-old who had swum to shore was treated in hospital for non life-threatening injuries. A search was mounted for his companion, whose body was found some time later in the water. Police did not release the name or the home town of the victim.
Chain Lakes is a string of small lakes east of Lawrence Lake and north of Island Lake. One of them has a provincial recreation area on it.
Island Lake was the site of the second drowning, two days later.
“At approximately 3:45 p.m. Athabasca RCMP received a report of a missing male scuba diver,” says the RCMP release. “The deceased has been identified as a 44-year-old man from Athabasca County.”
The diver was missing at the time of the initial news release, and people were looking for him. In a follow-up on July 16, RCMP said the body had been recovered and an autopsy ordered. Again, the victim’s identity was not released.
Island Lake is next to Hwy. 2. about 20 km. northwest of Athabasca.