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Riondel man’s body pulled from Kootenay Lake

The body of a 25-year-old Riondel man presumed to have drowned in Kootenay Lake has been recovered.

With the help of Idaho-based Ralston and Associates, the body was brought to the surface around 11 a.m. Monday.

The man, whose name hasn't been released, went missing after jumping from Starbelly Cliff north of Gray Creek on June 30. He and a friend were diving at the popular spot when he hit the water awkwardly.

The second man tried to pull his friend to safety but the unconscious swimmer slipped under the water and didn't resurface. He was familiar with the area and was described as an experienced cliff diver.

Using underwater cameras, divers spotted his body resting on a shelf at a depth of 146 feet (44.5 m).

RCMP arranged for Gene Ralston to help recover the body. His firm was the same one that located and recovered three youths who drowned in Slocan Lake this year.

Creston RCMP Staff Sgt. Bob Gollan said initially they were expected Monday morning, but arrived a day early. Ralston, his wife, an RCMP officer, and the local conservation officer went out in two boats, but couldn't find the man.

They were forced off the lake due to high winds, but went out again on Monday at 8 a.m. and located the body about three hours later using a remote underwater vehicle.

The body was turned over to the BC Coroners Service, which continues to investigate.

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