L to R: Staff Sgt. Grant Wong, Sandy Ralston, Gene Ralston, and Insp. Wendy Mehat. (Special to The News)

L to R: Staff Sgt. Grant Wong, Sandy Ralston, Gene Ralston, and Insp. Wendy Mehat. (Special to The News)

Out-of-towners assist RCMP locate body of missing jet skier in Maple Ridge

Idaho’s Gene and Sandy Ralston have made it their life’s mission to locate missing drowning victims

Ridge Meadows RCMP were able to provide closure to a grieving family with the help of a couple from south of the border.

The department, with the assistance of Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue, had combed Alouette Lake in the area where a 37-year-old Surrey man, went missing after falling from a jet ski in October 2020.

The search had proved fruitless until recently.

Police found out about Gene and Sandy Ralston, a retired Idahoan couple who have made it their life’s mission to volunteer in locating drowning victims.

The couple volunteers their own boat, technology, and time to help out the families of drowning victims, and agreed to make the trip to Maple Ridge.

READ MORE: Search continues for boater missing since Thursday night on Alouette Lake

READ MORE: Hunt for boater on Alouette Lake called off

Upon arrival, the Ralstons applied their expertise and got to work reviewing historical weather and water-current data.

On Monday, utilizing sonar technology, the couple identified what was believed to be the missing man.

The following day the RCMP’s dive team attended the coordinates provided, and successfully recovered the missing man.

On Wednesday afternoon, Insp. Wendy Mehat and Staff Sgt. Grant Wong presented the couple with certificates of commendation for their ‘immeasurably gracious’ contribution in assisting the Ridge Meadows RCMP.

“After an incident leaves the general public interest, families are still grieving and putting the puzzle pieces together in what happened and how to cope. For this reason police will not rest and always strive to not let cold cases go unsolved,” said Mehat.

“In over 20 years Gene and Sandy have located over 100 drowning victims located in lakes and rivers across Canada and the US. This couple should be commended for what they do in bringing some closure to victim’s families. I am sure the family of this man are very thankful to them, as are we.”


Have a story tip? Email: ronan.p.odoherty@blackpress.ca

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