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Updated: Sun, 11 May 2014 19:00:26 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Slocan Lake canoe accident: 1 dead, 3 missing



Lily Harmer-Taylor was declared dead in hospital after being found unconscious in a canoe in Slocan Lake Saturday. Three others who were with her on the lake are missing. Facebook

Lily Harmer-Taylor was declared dead in hospital after being found unconscious in a canoe in Slocan Lake Saturday. Three others who were with her on the lake are missing. Facebook

A 19-year-old woman is dead and three other people are missing after their canoe overturned on Slocan Lake, north of Nelson, B.C., yesterday afternoon.

People who knew Lily Harmer-Taylor have identified her as the woman who died in hospital in New Denver after being found unconscious in the canoe.

Three others, between the ages of 16 and 21, couldn't be found when rescue crews reached the scene and are still missing.

Dan Nicholson, publisher of New Denver's Valley Voice newspaper, said Harmer-Taylor had been living at his house in Rosebery, which is about six kilometres north of New Denver along the lake's east shore.

He said he let the group of four borrow his canoe for a trip into New Denver, but they didn't take his life jackets.

Nicholson said they made it to town, where he saw them walking around at one point in the day, and that they must have run into trouble on the trip back.

"They went back to the beach. They got in the canoe. They started paddling home, and I don't know: Wind came up, something happened, the canoe overturned and they were in the lake," he said. 

"That lake is so cold this time of year," he added.

Slocan Lake RCMP said the detachment received a call at around 5:30 p.m. PT Saturday afternoon after someone spotted a partially-submerged canoe with people hanging off it about 150 metres from shore.

When rescuers arrived, only Harmer-Taylor could be located.

Nicholson said he was told about the accident and went to the hospital to see her.

"They worked on her for five hours, but she never regained consciousness," Nicholson said.

He said the community is struggling with what has happened.

"Lily is dead," he said. "The three boys ... we don't have any definite confirmation yet, but the odds are, far and away, that they are dead as well."

RCMP Sgt. Darryl Little said Slocan Lake is glacier fed and very cold, and the water where the canoe was found is roughly 75 metres deep.

Little said he is hopeful the others managed to swim to shore. An RCMP dive team is working at the lake today, but Little said police are still considering today's activities a "rescue mission."

Little said the parents of all four have been notified, and grief counsellors have been made available at a New Denver school.

"It devastates the communities when you're losing some young people out of your communities," Little said.

"We're hopeful we'll find them still alive, but again it's very tough on the community because it's so small that everybody knows each other."

Three of the four are from New Denver, a community of roughly 600 on the eastern shore of the lake, and one is from Gibsons, on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast.

Google Maps: Slocan Lake, B.C.

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