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Coquitlam SAR to assess Widgeon Falls' water levels in ongoing search for missing woman

If deemed safe, RCMP say a larger volunteer team will be sent to the site this weekend.

It's now been 10 days since a 50-year-old woman went missing while swimming at Widgeon Falls.

While air searches were conducted, RCMP confirms to the Tri-City News efforts to find her on the ground were stalled over the last week due to water levels described as "too high" and "too fast."

However, the water levels have appeared to have dropped compared to the "semi-treacherous" conditions the night the woman was last seen (July 13).

Mounties spokesperson Const. Deanna Law explains Coquitlam Search and Rescue (SAR) is sending a small party today (July 23) to the popular outdoor summer site to assess the waters.

Law says the latest report will determine if the volunteer organization can reactivate its water- and ground-level searches this weekend.

"If this takes place, it will be Saturday or more likely Sunday," she tells the Tri-City News.

SAR crews were originally called to Widgeon Falls before 5 p.m. on July 13 after witnesses reported a woman in distress and tried to rescue her with a branch, but she went underwater and couldn't be found.

Volunteers, after a 90-minute search, determined they had to wait as the water was too dangerous to conduct a search.

"The RCMP dive team or ourselves will not be going into investigate that pool more because of the risk to the searchers or to the divers. They couldn't see; they wouldn't even go in," SAR spokesperson Wendi Harder told the Tri-City News in an earlier interview. She was the manager in charge of the initial search party.

"If the RCMP ask us to, we will go back up and be able to get into the water with underwater cameras into different areas just to see if we can find her.... We hope that we can find her and bring her home."

Ridge Meadows SAR was also called in for assistance and Talon Helicopters were used to take volunteers to Widgeon Falls — located roughly 20 km northeast of Coquitlam's downtown.

It's also roughly a three-kilometre walk on a forest service road from a campsite at the end of Quarry Road on the Coquitlam side of Pitt Lake.

Visitors typically travel on foot or by canoe up Widgeon Slough to see the popular landmark which has a pool at the bottom known as Hanging Creek.

For more information on trip planning, especially for backcountry hiking, you're encouraged to visit Coquitlam SAR's website.