Police searching river for missing man last seen by sandbar

Police searching river for missing man last seen by sandbar
RCMP confirm search for missing jet skier likely a recovery mission
RCMP and search and rescue teams are searching for a man who went missing at the South Saskatchewan River southwest of Saskatoon.

Robert Harry Lehto, 57, was last seen at Paradise Beach on Sunday. Police say he was with friends near a sandbar, but was reported missing after no one saw him for about four hours. 

Robert Harry Lehto, 57 was last seen at Paradise Beach with his friends on July 29 near a sand bar in the South Saskatchewan River. On July 31, 2018 members from the Saskatoon RCMP were searching the South Saskatchewan River in an attempt to locate Lehto. (Supplied/RCMP) / Saskatoon

The Saskatoon Fire Department searched around the beach and downstream on the evening Lehto went missing, with help from an RCMP search dog and STARS air ambulance. 

While search efforts are concentrated on the South Saskatchewan River, RCMP say “other avenues of investigation are still open” and they encourage anyone who has seen Lehto after July 29 to contact Saskatoon RCMP or Crime Stoppers.

Still missing on river – Kamloops News

On Monday, RCMP's Underwater Recovery Unit and Civilian Air Search and Rescue began searching the water near Paradise beach and downstream. 

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Saskatoon RCMP detachment.

Robert Harry Lehto was last seen at Paradise Beach with his friends on Sunday near a sandbar in the river. Investigation and items found nearby led RCMP officers to the area, according to an RCMP news release.

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Earlier today this section of the river was closed to boaters while the RCMP Dive Team was looking for evidence of the missing boater involved in a crash Sunday afternoon.

A post to the Meewasin Valley Authority’s (MVA) Facebook page on Tuesday morning said Paradise Beach is closed until further notice due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

Police say the Dive Team has completed their search operation but no sign of the male has been found to date.

Kamloops RCMP have reopened a stretch of the South Thompson River, but have yet to find a missing personal watercraft rider.

Earlier: Kamloops RCMP has confirmed the search for a missing jet skier involved in a collision with another jet skier on the South Thompson River Sunday near Valleyview is now “likely a recovery mission.”

The man went missing Sunday evening after two watercraft collided between the Lafarge bridge and Valleyview boat launch.

“At this point were looking for a body at the bottom of the river. Thats not to say that it wasnt possible for him to exit the river at some point but theres no indication of that,” says Cpl. Jodi Shelkie.

The public is asked to keep their eyes open on the water, and is advised additional closures of the river may be necessary.

While the search continues, she says police have again closed the South Thompson River to all boating traffic between Lafarge Bridge and the Valleyview boat launch.

The RCMP dive team was unable to locate the man Monday and are expected to resume their search today.

“Yesterday, the dive team used sonar to search a 300 x 700 metre area where the personal watercraft driver was last seen. Today they will be expanding this search,” she says.

On Monday, she recounted how the collision occurred, noting there was two watercraft that were travelling in the same direction on the river. Shelkie said that one of them attempted to make what appears to be a U-turn and when he turned around he hit the other watercraft in a T-bone fashion.

She said both drivers of the watercraft went under and only one of the drivers emerged from the river while the other hasnt been seen since.