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Tenth anniversary Bella Coola River trip turns deadly for B.C. couple

Family mourns Victoria’s Andrea and Cameron Murdoch after guided fishing boat capsizes
Andrea and Cameron Murdoch were in a guided fishing boat that capsized on the Bella Coola River Aug. 10. (Family photo)

A trip taken by a Victoria couple to the Great Bear Rainforest on the central coast has ended tragically.

Andrea and Cameron Murdoch have been identified by family as two of the three people involved in a fatal fishing boat incident on the Bella Coola River Tuesday, Aug. 10.

The couple took the special trip to the Bella Coola Valley to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary and had booked a fishing boat charter with a guide for what was to be a four-hour trip down the river beginning at 8 a.m., said Andrea’s brother, Dave Newsted.

Just after 11:30 a.m., however, the Bella Coola RCMP were notified after a partially capsized drift boat was sighted going down stream on the river near Walker Island Park.

An extensive search began for the missing guide and couple with more than a dozen local search and rescue workers and community members involved. Just after 7:30 p.m. that night, the body of a person was located using a helicopter approximately two kilometres above Grant Road and four kilometres downstream from the Walker Island riverbank.

The body was recovered by members of the Nuxalk First Nations and Nuxalk River Guardians.

Newsted confirmed it was Cameron, 42, who was found, and the family presume Andrea, 51, died as well.

The local fishing guide is also still missing. Their name has not been released.

Search volunteers worked day and night for several days looking for the missing. As of Monday (Aug. 16), except for a marine unit, the searchers have stood down for now.

“We appreciate the community support and all the effort that went into the search,” Newsted said, noting the family understands what a difficult search it was given the high waters due to a heat wave causing glacier melt. “We understand it was heavy, hard work.”

Newsted said at this time, they have “no clue” what went wrong, and are just trying to cope with the devastating loss of a vibrant, happy couple who loved to take trips together.

“You hope there are lessons learned so this doesn’t happen again.”

Bella Coola RCMP have asked anyone who may have information on what happened, or saw the boat earlier on Aug. 10, to contact the detachment at 250-799-5363.

Read More:RCMP, community members search for victims after fishing boat capsizes on Bella Coola River

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Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

I began my journalism career in daily and weekly newspapers in Alberta.
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