The family of a Melbourne woman lost in the Canadian wilderness for more than two weeks say they accept she may never be found.
The family of Sophie Dowsley said that Canadian police have called off the search after bringing in sniffer dogs and rescue teams to scour the remote and difficult terrain some three hour’s east of Vancouver.
Grave fears were held for the 34-year-old Melbourne woman after divers found Ms Dowsley’s Canadian boyfriend Greg Tiffin’s body in Statlu Lake on Tuesday.
In a social media post, Ms Dowsley’s brother, Jamie, said the Royal Mounted Canadian Police had halted their search as there were “no plausible or conceivable areas to search”.
“After visiting this area and gaining an understanding of the terrain and conditions our family fully accept this decision,” he said.
Mr Dowsley thanked emergency services.
“We acknowledge that this is one of the most dangerous search and recovery operations that you have ever conducted,” he said.
“Every day you put your lives at risk to find Sophie and we thank you for that.”
Today the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have made the decision to cease the search for Sophie Dowsley who went…
Mr Dowsley told Fairfax media that after visiting the terrain, the family appreciated there was nowhere else left to search and that “Sophie may never be found”.
Mr Tiffin, a 44-year-old Canadian, and Ms Dowsley set out for their day hike to Statlu Lake on July 8 and concerns were raised for their safety four days later.
A pair of women’s sunglasses found at the bottom of Statlu Falls was one of a series of clues pointing to a possible tragedy in the pair’s disappearance.
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 last week 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.