On Saturday, April 20, 2013, Brendan Wilson and Austin Kingsborough took a canoe trip from the Wilson family cabin onto Nicola Lake, B.C. On April 21, 2013, when the boys did not return home to the Lower Mainland, Connie and Barry Wilson contacted a friend at the lake and asked them to check on the boys who discovered Brendanâ€™s truck still at the cabin but no sign of either of the boys.
The initial searches of the lake shoreline by Search and Rescue and family members uncovered several signs the boys were lost in the lake. The canoe was discovered capsized and submerged on the southeast shoreline, approximately 1 km north of the family cabin. Some personal items belonging to the boys were also located.
The paddles for the canoe were discovered on the far northwest shoreline, north of the cabin. All the families could do was wait and pray for the boys.
On April 21, 2013 the RCMP brought divers and a sonar search team to the lake. The RCMP unsuccessfully searched until Friday, April 26, 2013 at 13:30 hours when they officially called off the search. On this same day, Scott Lebus and Connie Wilson contacted Gene Ralston from Idaho USA, an underwater search specialist, to request his assistance.
Gene, a retired environmental consultant who specializes in water related environmental issues, has frequently volunteered his equipment and time to assist the Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit, local and national authorities in searching for drowning victims. Since 1999, Gene has recovered 86 souls bringing closure to suffering families. Gene and his wife Sandy do their inspirational work as non-profit association.
On May 6, 2013, at 7:10 am, Gene started to search the bay area in front of the Wilson cabin with his side scan sonar. At 7:30 am, he discovered both boys in 75 feet of water at the edge of the bay near the Wilson cabin. The RCMP was notified, and later that day, Gene successfully recovered both boys through the use of a remote operated vehicle or ROV. Thanks to Ralston and Associates, both boys are now home and both families have the closure they so badly needed.
After locating the boys, Gene and Sandy went to Shuswap Lake to look for a missing fisherman. John Poole, a 59 year old husband and father, was fishing near Eagle Bay on the Shuswap. On the morning of April 30, 2013, his boat was discovered on the shoreline, engine running and fishing lines still in the water. Gene and Sandy worked for 6 days straight, 9 hours a day, and on the morning of May 13, 2013, they located John in 235 feet of water, right off the point of his favorite fishing spot.
Gene and Sandy, working with the RCMP, were able to recover John with the ROV bringing closure to Johnâ€™s family. An exhausted Gene and Sandy returned home for some rest. Unfortunately it wonâ€™t last, they are on the road doing this important work approximately 200 days a year.