Royal Canadian Mounted Police have suspended the search for Melbourne woman Sophie Dowsley, who went missing while hiking in Canadian wilderness two weeks ago.
Dowsley, 34, and her boyfriend Gregory Tiffin, 44, were last seen on July 8 at the Harrison Hot Springs, east of Vancouver, where they were believed to have gone for a day-long walk near a notoriously dangerous waterfall. The alarm was subsequently raised when neither of them turned up to work after.
Authorities began their search on July 12.
Tiffin’s body had been retrieved in the Mount Statlu Lake region, along with the couple’s vehicle, the police have confirmed Thursday. A backpack belonging to Tiffin and Dowsley’s sunglasses were also found in the area.
In a social media post on Sunday night (AEST), Sophie Dowsley’s brother, Jamie, made the heartbreaking news, saying the RCMP had made the decision to call off the search for his sister as there were “no plausible or conceivable areas left to search.”
“After visiting this area and gaining an understanding of the terrain and conditions our family fully accept this decision,” he wrote.
He expressed his family’s gratitude to the Canadian police and the emergency services who risked their own lives searching the notoriously rugged region for Dowsley.
“We acknowledge that this is one of the most dangerous searches 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.”
The waterfall where Tiffin’s body was found has a history of fatalities and its terrain and trails are challenging even for experienced hikers. Searchers, including divers, dogs, and specialists from Kent Harrison Search and Rescue had to be flown in on helicopters.
According to 9News, the water search will resume “when nature allows” but the Dowsleys “understand that Sophie may never be found.”