A family decimated during an ATV outing in Alberta

A family ride in the Alberta countryside just before Christmas turned into tragedy when the three occupants of an ATV sank into an icy lake, before being found thanks to a citizen’s hunch.

Kelly Pelsma, 39; his wife, Laura Pelsma, 37, and their son Dylan, 8, were out on an adventure in their side-by-side style vehicle on December 23 when they disappeared in Lac Ste. County. Anne, about an hour west of Edmonton.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) finally announced that they had found the bodies of the Pelsmas on Christmas Day, after carrying out an intense search, notably using a helicopter.

Everything suggests that the family ventured onto a lake where the thickness of the ice was insufficient for the weight of the ATV.

“It’s a sad outcome. The loss of any life is tragic. Losing an entire family during the holidays is truly devastating. Our thoughts are with the community and the rest of the family,” commented RCMP spokesperson Patrick Lambert, quoted by Global News.

Found by a fisherman

The RCMP admitted to having managed to locate the missing family thanks to the help of a citizen.

Martin Lavoie, a fisherman who knows the area well, told Edmonton Journal how a presentiment allowed him to find the Pelsma after learning of their disappearance.

“I said to my wife: I think I know exactly where they are. I got in my truck, I brought some projectors with me and I went to where I thought they were,” he said.

The man first stopped at the home of a nearby acquaintance who has exterior cameras. Viewing the images which showed the Pelsma family passing by on an ATV confirmed his suspicions and convinced him to go to where he thought he would find the family.

“The first thing I saw was a can on the ice. I stopped my truck and headed out onto the ice. I stopped about 50 feet from the hole in the ice and immediately called the RCMP,” Mr. Lavoie told Edmonton Journal.

The citizen even subsequently supported the investigators, notably by bringing them a drill for ice fishing.

“I am the father of two children, so this means a lot to me. It’s Christmas time. I had to try to find them,” Martin Lavoie told the daily.

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