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Human remains recovered in Bella Coola estuary may be missing Victoria tourist or fishing guide

Remains could possibly be indentified as person missing after fishing guide boat capsized: RCMP
A member of Bella Coola Valley Search and Rescue looks on as Nuxalk River Guardians are out on a boat in the estuary near Bella Coola, B.C. on Saturday, Oct. 9. (Photo submitted)

Human remains recovered last weekend (Oct. 9) in the estuary at Bella Coola are believed to be related to an incident on Aug. 10, 2021 where a fishing guide boat capsized with two tourists and one guide on board.

Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, North District media relations, told Black Press Media on Wednesday, Oct. 13, all families connected with the tragedy have been notified that the human remains could possibly be identified as one of the persons who was in the boat, though police won’t say who they may be.

“We are still investigating and the body has not been identified, but we do know that foul play is not suspected,” Saunderson said.

The body of Cameron Murdoch, 42, of Victoria was located the day of the incident, but the body of his wife Andrea Murdoch, 51, and that of the guide, a 61-year-old man from Sorrento, have not been located to date.

Andrea and Cameron were in the area celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary and had booked a fishing boat charter with a guide.

READ MORE: Family mourns Victoria couple lost after guided fishing boat capsizes on Bella Coola River

Before it capsized on Aug. 10, the drift boat was last seen stopped for a period of time to fish at the confluence of the Saloopmpt River and the Bella Coola River and later spotted adrift without occupants near Walker Island, noted Sgt. Chris Manseau of the BC RCMP communications section in an Aug. 12 news release.

Groups that took part in the initial search for several days included Bella Coola Valley Search and Rescue (BCVSAR) swift water rescue team and ground team, Department of Fisheries and Oceans stock assessment and hatchery teams as well as Nuxalk First Nations and the Nuxalk River Guardians.

READ MORE: RCMP, community members search for victims after fishing boat capsizes on Bella Coola River

On Saturday, Oct. 9, BCVSAR and the Nuxalk River Guardians along with some other local volunteers worked to retrieve the human remains from the estuary.

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With files from Angie Mindus.