The search is over for a teen missing since the boat he was in capsized in western P.E.I. on Sept. 16.
The RCMP has confirmed the body of Alex Hutchinson was recovered from the water in Cascumpec Bay on Thursday, Sept. 24, at about 8 a.m.
“He was located by a fisherman who was out assisting with the search,” said RCMP Staff-Sgt. Neil Logan.
RCMP took over once the body was found. Family members have been notified.
Alex was boating with two other teens, Max MacIsaac and Ethan Reilly, off Northport last week, when they went into the water around a kilometre off Fox Point.
Max was able to swim to shore and call 911.
The RCMP underwater recovery team recovered Ethan’s body on Sept. 20.
Both boys were found close to where the boat capsized, around three kilometres from Northport Harbour.
Close to 40 boats set out early Thursday to resume searching the water after stormy weather had RCMP advising boats to stay in port Wednesday.
Alex was brought to shore by officials around 10 a.m. and carefully placed in an Alberton Fire Department vehicle. Officials flanked the truck, walking alongside as it carried his body across the wharf where searchers stood, gathered in small groups or in vehicles. Once the vehicle was safely on its way, the wharf emptied swiftly.
Beginning Sept. 18, RCMP divers joined the search for days in poor visibility, using a side scanning sonar. They pulled out on Tuesday and stayed out on Wednesday as the weather closed in.
Some RCMP and volunteer searchers were out on the water Tuesday until mid-afternoon.
No one went out on the water Wednesday, but some volunteers continued to walk the shoreline of Fox Island.
“It’s a big relief,” said Herbie Perry on Thursday morning, after Alex’s body was found. “Every day, every day looking, and you don’t know.”
Perry’s grandson played hockey with the boys. He has been walking the shores since last Wednesday evening when the teens first went missing.
Logan wanted to thank everyone who helped in the search.
“We’re all a little bit relieved that we could give some news to the family and can’t thank everybody up here enough that helped out with everything. It’s just been pretty amazing to see how the community came together to support the search efforts and also just support their family.”
A handful of volunteers were still in the Northport Community Centre Thursday morning. The centre has been a hub for searchers and volunteers, serving hot meals and handing out bagged lunches.
Wendy McNeill, mayor of the rural municipality of Northport, said Thursday she’s planning to distribute the extra donations of food and drinks to community organizations. She and her councillors were on hand to tidy the hall to prepare for renovations – already on hold so they could host the searchers. But nothing is set in stone, she said.
“If there is a need, we will definitely be here,” said McNeill on Thursday.
Many of Alex’s family members were together at the Elite Seed Farm on Fox Island when they learned the news Thursday morning. It has been a gathering place for family and friends over the past week.
“It was a tremendous search by so many good people,” said an aunt.
The grief settled upon her, days of composure began to falter and tears fell. “They lived very full lives. They were special.”
At a glance
The RCMP wishes to thank all those who helped in the search for Ethan Reilly and Alex Hutchinson over the past week.
• P.E.I. Ground Search and Rescue volunteer searchers
• Joint Rescue Coordination Centre
• DND/Coast Guard/Coast Guard Auxiliary
• DFO boats and operators
• Parks Canada boat and operator
• P.E.I. Fisheries and Communities Aquaculture boat and operators
• Conservation Officers from P.E.I. Justice and Public Safety boat and operators
• Fox Island Elite Seed Farm for providing command post location
• Underwater Recovery Team from RCMP N.B. and N.S.
• RCMP Helicopter
• RCMP officers from across P.E.I. who covered shifts in West Prince
• Island EMS
• Local fire departments staff and volunteers
• Northport Community Centre
• Northport Harbour Authority