Retired RCMP officer drowns during scuba diving trip southwest of Edmonton

Posted: 09/24/2012 in all marine news

Mariam Ibrahim – 

A retired RCMP officer drowned over the weekend while scuba diving with a friend at Twin Lakes campground, southwest of Pigeon Lake.

The pair entered Twin Lake around noon Saturday and the retired officer went missing around half an hour later, RCMP spokesman Staff Sgt. Shawn LeMay said.

His body was recovered late Sunday afternoon after crews spent the day searching.

The victim’s name was not released, but the Journal has confirmed his identity as Staff Sgt. Russell Gillespie, who worked at RCMP K Division offices in Edmonton before his recent retirement.

Gillespie’s friend, also an RCMP officer, called for help after Gillespie failed to resurface and efforts to find him were unsuccessful, LeMay said.

Breton RCMP responded to the scene immediately and the search was conducted throughout Saturday evening with the help of a Wetaskiwin RCMP search boat, the Rocky Mountain House search and rescue team and the northern Alberta Aquatic Rescue Society dive team.

Search crews were forced to stop at sundown on Saturday evening but resumed early Sunday morning. Gillespie’s body was discovered in the water later that afternoon, LeMay said.

“We were able to locate our friend and colleague shortly after 4 p.m. today,” he said.

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