The Journal of Canadian

Wilderness Canoeing

  FALL 2003

PAGE 9

OUTFIT 114
 

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In this issue

Front Page

Excerpt

Labrador Tragedy

Robert Service

Fall Packet

Canoesworthy

From the Editor

Canoelit

Back page

 

 

 

Labrador Tragedy

Canoeists' fate in rugged Torngat Mountains to remain a mystery

 – for now

What happened?

That’s the question everyone is asking following the disappearance of Susan Barnes and Daniel Pauze. The pair, from Mississauga, just outside Toronto, were living the trip of their dreams in northern Labrador on the Korok River.

Daniel, 31, and Susan 32 are now certainly dead and their bodies have not been recovered despite several attempts to find the pair who were reported missing Aug 24 , two days after they missed their charter flight at the mouth of the Korok.

Labrador RCMP officials said yesterday the search included military helicopters scanning the remote, mountainous area which lies on the Quebec-Labrador border south of Nachvak Fjord .

Rescue officials finally called off the search for two Ontario hikers on Sept 10.  The reality is the pair ran into trouble weeks earlier at the very start of the trip when the mountain climb was planned for. At 5413 feet, Mt. D’Iberville (also known as  Mt. Caubvik on the Labrador side) is not a technical climb but the area is extremely remote and rugged.

Deteriorating weather conditions combined with the rugged terrain made the search time sporadic and it necessary to stop the search for safety reasons, RCMP Staff Sergeant Dominic Broaders said. Air and ground searches of the area turned up a canoe, a loaded rifle and a satellite phone.  The canoe was cached several miles away back at the Korok all other items were at basecamp.

Sgt. Broaders said a climbing harness belonging to Mr. Pauze was also found away from the camp with no obvious signs of anything untoward. He said the case will be left as an open file, but searchers won't be able to get back into the area until next June.

Georgette Pauze was convinced soon after the pair  missed their flight out that something bad happened to her youngest son, an adept winter camper who left her a detailed map of where the couple would be each day throughout their journey, as well as the number for the satellite phone he carries on all trips.

She last heard from him Aug. 8 and believes the couple ran into trouble climbing the mountain. "Where else would they go? They left their canoe, their phone, their rifle, everything at camp.

 

"They were a couple that like to do everything together," she said, beginning to cry. "They would clean their cars together, get groceries. They were just like one person. They were in love."

After the couple failed to meet a plane they had arranged to fly them out of the wilderness near the Quebec-Newfoundland border to Goose Bay on Aug. 22, Georgette Pauze contacted police.

Recently, the couple’s van was returned from Labrador by a friend. Their personal effects were inside: identification and photos processed by the authorities in search of clues that were made from reels of film left in the couple's tent.

All were moments retracing the steps of the missing duo that the Barneses had never seen, including photos of Susan Barnes disembarking from the Air Inuit flight that dropped the couple off near their last known campsite.

The Barneses have accepted the search is over. "We have asked them to leave the food there, enough for three weeks, (along with) the tent and the boat and a satellite phone ... one kilometre from the (mountain) base on the Quebec side," Betty Barnes said.

And while they hope against hope the pair return to their waiting tent, they are planned a memorial service in Mississauga for Oct. 11. Gaston and Georgette Pauze, Daniel's parents, will be driving from Sudbury to stay with them during the week.

Betty Barnes and her husband John Barnes received a fax from the RCMP's detachment in Nain, northern Labrador, telling them the search for the missing Mississauga couple was officially over.

"These two persons have not been located and are presumed to be dead," read the letter from Sergeant Kevin Baillie.

 — Michael Peake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tragedy cont'd

 Fall 2003         Outfit 114 

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