Police and rescue teams are continuing to search the Sooke River for the body of a 20-year-old man who hasn’t been since Friday evening. Two other bodies were recovered Sunday, police said.
RCMP said Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20 years old, were last seen at a home in Sooke, late Friday night.
The men were in a 2004 blue Dodge Dakota and it was unclear where they were going.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Brett Sinden said the men’s pickup truck had somehow gone into the Sooke River near the Sooke Potholes, and there’s a possibility the trio was washed away by the unusually high, swift flowing water.
“The truck was found in the river near the Potholes and the two bodies that have now been recovered were found just off the shoreline. They were located about 300 meters apart,” Sinden said.
The names of the dead men were not released.
Coroner’s Service spokesperson Andy Watson said there does not appear to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths.
The men’s disappearance triggered a community-wide search on Saturday with scores of residents joining the RCMP and Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue to locate the missing men.
On Sunday morning, the helicopter spotted the Dodge Dakota pick up truck in the Sooke River, not far from Sooke River Road near the Sooke Potholes.
“The water was very high on Friday night and continues to be dangerous now,” Sinden said.
“It’s one of the reasons that we’ve asked the volunteers who mobilized on Saturday to help with the search to stand down. We certainly don’t want anyone else to find themselves in trouble in the unusually dangerous conditions on the river.”
Jack Most, a Sooke resident who had gone to the same area early Saturday morning, before the search for the men had even started, reported that he’s gone to the area to see the unusual river conditions.
“I hike there once or twice a week and I thought I’d go see the high water, but when I got over the last rise I could see water on the road,” Most said.
“I got out to investigate and saw there was a lot of water (on the road) and that there was actually a current running there. There was also debris higher on the road, indicating that, at some point, the water had been even higher, so we just backed out and went for our hike at a different location.”
Sinden commended the community on their response to the men’s disappearance on Friday.
“This is a very close knit community and it was wonderful how everyone came together when this happened. It’s very sad that it’s had this outcome, but we continue to search for the third man.”