YELLOWKNIFE — The search for three overdue travellers on frozen Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories has been suspended after police say searchers in a helicopter spotted a body.
The trio left the Yellowknife area on a snowmobile Monday bound for Lutsel'ke on the eastern edge of the lake, but were reported overdue on Tuesday.
RCMP say officers on board a Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Griffon helicopter returned Friday to an area of open water on the lake where debris was seen by search aircraft the day before.
During the patrol, RCMP observed a deceased person in the open water near the debris.
Unable to land on ice near the location, RCMP say they confirmed it was a body with aerial photographs, although the identity hasn't been determined.
The missing have been identified as Samuel Boucher, who is 65, Cammy Boucher, who is 23, and an unknown man.
"Our hearts are with the families of the missing persons. We are sorry to bring this tragic news to them and we will continue to support them," Staff Sgt. Yannick Hamel, Yellowknife RCMP operations manager, said in a news release.
Police said that with the body sighting, and no sightings of the missing travellers after multiple searches over the area over several days, experienced searchers determined that all viable search options have been exhausted.
They also noted that ice conditions were deteriorating.
Police said they're working on a strategy to pull the body from the water.
"We understand the desire to bring these travellers home, but due to the deteriorating ice conditions, we stress that no one should venture out on the ice," Hamel noted.
Police said the investigation will continue as an open missing persons file.
Efforts to identify the third person continue.
The missing travellers were aboard a 1990s-era Black Bombardier Scandic two seater, towing two toboggans.
Due to poor ice conditions, only aircraft were part of the search.