Body of missing swimmer recovered from Moose River

MOOSONEE – On August 4, 2015 members of the Moosonee Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) with assistance from the Nishnawbe-Aski Police (NAPS) as well as the Moose Factory Island Fire and Rescue responded to a report of a missing swimmer off of the northeast point of Moose Factory Island.

At approximately 1:10 pm officers with Moose Factory NAPS located two intoxicated males reporting that they had been swimming with a female when they became caught in the changing tides of Moose River. The males had made it to shore, however the female was still missing. Immediately the Moosonee OPP Marine Unit, Moose Factory NAPS and the Moose Factory Fire and Rescue initiated a co-ordinated search effort in the location that the swimmer was last observed.

Shortly after 3:30 pm members of the Moose Factory Fire and Rescue located the female with vital signs absent approximately one kilometre north of Moose Factory Island.

The Female has been identified as Brittany RICKARD (24), of Moose Factory Island. A post mortem examination will take place at a later date.

Moose River flows into the James Bay and is affected by strong currents and tidal changes. The combination of these two result in changing water depths and strong undertows.

This is the second incident within the past few weeks that resulted in the Moosonee OPP Marine Unit and Moose Factory Fire and Rescue conducting a joint response.

On July 17, 2015 the Moosonee OPP received a report of a canoeing group in distress on James Bay at the mouth of the Moose River. A group of 11 paddlers were on the final leg of a 19 day excursion leading to the Town of Moosonee. On July 16, 2015 the group arrived at the mouth of the Moose River and set up camp on a sand bar, which unknown to the group, is affected by tidal waters. During the evening the group was overtaken by rising tides, forcing them inland.

Due to the shallow waters the Moosonee OPP requested the assistance of the Moose Factory Search and Rescue. In a co-ordinated effort the group was located in waist deep water. The victims were transferred from the shallow waters to the Moosonee OPP vessel at which point they were brought to hospital to be treated for cold weather injuries.