Canadian authorities have found the body of Sophie Dowsley’s boyfriend as the grim search continues for the missing Australian woman.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed on Wednesday that dive teams found the body of Greg Tiffin, Ms Dowsley’s partner in Statlu Lake, British Columbia near the notorious Statlu Falls.
Grave fears were held for Ms Dowsley and Mr Tiffin after they failed to return from a hiking trip in rugged countryside earlier this month.
The search for Ms Dowsley would resume Thursday morning local time, with the Mounties determined to find Ms Dowsley.
“All search resources remain engaged as we continue to look for the missing woman,” Royal Mounted Canadian Police Corporal Mike Rail said.
“RCMP remain in close contact with the victim’s and missing woman’s families.”
A pair of women’s sunglasses earlier found at the bottom of Statlu Falls was one of a series of clues pointing to a possible tragedy in the pair’s disappearance.
The 34-year-old Melbourne woman and her 44-year-old boyfriend reportedly set off on a hiking day-trip in the province of British Colombia, Canada, on July 8 and had not been seen or heard from since.
They were last spotted at the nearby village of Harrison Hot Springs. Days after they were reported missing, search and rescue teams found their vehicle near Statlu Lake, almost 80kms north.
Neil Brewe, from Kent Harrison Search and Rescue, a volunteer group told Canada’s CBC News the terrain around the waterfall was extremely treacherous.
“It’s not an easy place to get into,” he said.
“And I can’t emphasise this enough: it has some extremely dangerous spots, with a very dramatic and very dangerous waterfall that exits from Statlu Lake.”
In addition to Ms Dowsley’s sunglasses, another item believed to belong to the Vancouver-based couple was located on a rock slab near the top of the waterfall.
“It’s very slippery. People are tempted at that point – because they can’t actually see the falls – to keep inching out on this rock slab to get a picture of the falls,” Mr Brewer said.
“And then, they slip and enter the falls. At that point they’re swept down into a pool about [60 metres] below the falls.”
Speaking to CTV News Vancouver, Mr Brewer said hikers had been killed at the remote waterfall in the past.
“We have not been to that location for close to 20 years, but 20 years ago, we went there three times, three consecutive years for exactly the same scenario and a fatality each time,” he said.
Father’s ‘worst possible nightmare’
Canadian media have reported that Ms Dowsley’s family have flown in from Australia to assist with the search, while Mr Tiffin’s family is also desperate to find the couple.
Ms Dowsley’s father, Peter Dowsley, told CTV News in an exclusive interview that he thinks in his “heart of hearts” his daughter and her boyfriend might still be alive.
“We just need to know,” he said.
“They’ve gone to a very dangerous place and they haven’t come out.
“The terrain is just absolutely stunningly beautiful and rugged and unforgiving. Obviously, the only people that can be in there are trained professionals.”
Mr Dowsley also lamented the timing of the incident, noting that many of Canada’s search and rescue resources were being devoted to fighting vast wildfires burning out of control across the province of British Colombia.
Australia is sending 50 firefighters to help battle the blazes, which have forced tens of thousands of people from their homes.