Man’s body retrieved from river

Jaffray’s Zeke Fantuz confirmed deceased after his vehicle went into the Bull River on June 24.

  • Jul. 9, 2013 10:00 a.m.

On Saturday, July 6, the body of missing Jaffray man Ezekiel “Zeke” Fantuz was pulled out of the Bull River east of Cranbrook by Search and Rescue personnel, according to Cranbrook RCMP.

The young man was last seen at about 11:15 p.m. on Monday, June 24 after he left friends to return home.

When he failed to arrive, a search began and revealed a spot where RCMP believed Zeke’s 1994 Nissan Pathfinder had gone off the Bull River Forest Service Road into the Bull River, above the bridge past the Aberfeldie Dam.

In the evening on Friday, July 5, according to Cranbrook RCMP, a family member located Zeke’s vehicle in the river, a short distance downstream of where it went in.

RCMP were notified, and Search and Rescue teams attended the scene Friday night. Search and Rescue managed to attach a line to the vehicle, preventing it from moving further downstream.

At first light on Saturday, July 6, Cranbrook RCMP with Search and Rescue units from Cranbrook, Kimberley, Fernie and Sparwood, including a swift water and rope rescue team, began the work of retrieving the vehicle.

“Search and Rescue teams were successful in having the vehicle towed closer to shore, at which time the body of 20-year-old Zeke Fantuz was recovered from the vehicle,” said Cpl. Pat Prefontaine.

“The Cranbrook RCMP would like to thank everyone who assisted in the search and recovery efforts.”

A memorial service for Zeke was held the same day, Saturday, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Jaffray.

Meanwhile, two young men whose vehicle went into Findlay Creek on June 8 are still missing.

Stephen Thomson, 21, of Canal Flats and Nicholas Hoefnagels, 19, of Carstairs, Alberta, were last seen leaving a campsite at Whitetail Lake on June 8.

Their truck was pulled out of the fast-flowing creek on June 25, but the men were not inside it.