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Search for 2 women boaters in distress on Ontario river continues

The stormy weather which has hit Waterloo Region has created an issue for police as they search for two women who were reported to be in distress on the Grand River in Kitchener over the weekend.

A bystander called police on Saturday night at around 9:30 p.m. to report that two people were in distress on the Grand River near King Street and River Road, according to Const. Melissa Quarrie told reporters on Monday morning.

“The searched for the missing individuals commenced that evening, however, it was unsuccessful,” she said whle noting that police brought in a drone to help with their efforts.

“The search was paused during the overnight hours and continued during Sunday and into the morning today. At this time, WRPS is partnering with a number of emergency services in order to facilitate the investigation and the ongoing search, including the OPP dive team.”

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Waterloo police Insp. Brenna Bonn would not say whether police had given up hope of finding the two women boaters alive.

“Our ongoing hope is that we do recover them and bring some closure to their families and friends,” she said.

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Bonn would not disclose any further details on the identity of the two missing women.

OPP divers were searching the Grand River in Kitchener, Ont. for two women who went missing over the weekend. Kevin Nielsen / Global News

On Monday morning, OPP divers were searching near a dam with a catchment area a few kilometres away from where the women were reported being seen.

“We focused our area based on a witness account and then we called in subject matter experts that OPP dive team attended,” Bonn said.

“The team is still currently down at the area where we are searching.”

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But a short time later, the search was postponed as thunderstorms and heavy rains poured down on the area.

Quarrie told reporters they are working with other agencies to see if the water flow can be altered to help with the search.

“We have been in contact with the Region of Waterloo and Grand River conservation authority in regards to impacting the flow of the water and what they can do to assist with our efforts,” she said.

Quarrie also asked that members of the public stay away from the area as officers continue their search.

“It’s very treacherous conditions, especially along the shoreline with slippery rocks and fast-moving water,” she explained.

“We have had a number of inquiries from members of the public asking if they could be involved in the search.

“At this time, we are strongly advising against anyone. coming down to the river. Just to let the emergency service professionals continue the search. Because this time it’s really treacherous to be out on the water and slippery underfoot, and we wouldn’t want to have an incident where we have another search ongoing. “

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