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Search underway for canoe occupants in Alberta

Courtesy: McMurray Aviation

Courtesy: McMurray Aviation

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    Digital writers

    Friday, June 14, 2013, 6:56 PM -

    Emergency officials continue their search for two Lac La Biche males on their red canoe.

    On June 12, Wood Buffalo RCMP were alerted to possible missing canoe occupants on the Christina River. Officials say four males who went canoeing on June 8 had not returned by their scheduled date, initiating a local search and rescue effort.

    A military helicopter lifted two of the men to safety on Thursday, but the search continues for the other two travelers.

    "The group was reportedly traveling together in two separate 18 foot canoes, one red and one green," read an RCMP news statement on Friday morning. "The green canoe was located later yesterday, on the Athabasca River near the Firebag River, south of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. The search continues via air for the other two males, a 66 year-old and a 58 year-old, also both from Lac La Biche, and their red canoe."

    Recent heavy rainfall has resulted in severe flooding and prompted mandatory evacuations for about 400 people.

    As a result, boat launches to the rivers remain closed for the time being and residents are reminded to stay clear of the unstable riverbanks and shorelines.

    Anyone with additional information is urged to call the Wood Buffalo RCMP at (780)- 788-4000.

    Alberta Premier touring flood-stricken region

    Meanwhile, Alberta Premier Alison Redford is touring soggy Fort McMurray and visiting with volunteers filling sandbags.

    A local state of emergency and boil-water order were issued for the area earlier this week, after water eroded the banks of the overflowing Hangingstone River.

    A flood warning has since been downgraded to a flood watch because the river's water is receding.

    Environment Canada has also ended a weather warning for the area, but forecasts warn that there will be more rain over the next two days.

    With files from the Canadian Press

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