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Alberta family found drowned the day after Christmas

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Three bodies were found at Lac Sainte-Anne on Tuesday afternoon.


Alberta RCMP confirms having found the bodies of three members of a family Tuesday afternoon. They died in the icy waters of Lake Sainte-Anne, about 85 kilometers west of Edmonton.

The three victims are Kelly Pelsma, 39, his wife Laura, 37, and their son Dylan, 8.

Corporal Patrick Lambert, RCMP spokesperson, also confirmed that divers found an all-terrain utility vehicle (UTV), commonly known as a side-by-side, in the water.

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The three The bodies found are those of Kelly Pelsma, 39, Laura Pelsma, 37, and their son Dylan, 8.

Members of the Pelsma family were last seen on December 23. On December 25, they were reported missing to the RCMP after they missed a Christmas party they were scheduled to attend.

The loss of this family is truly devastating this holiday season. Our thoughts are with the community and extended family, said RCMP Corporal Patrick Lambert.

Martin Jr Lavoie, a resident of Lac Sainte-Anne, claims to have helped the police find the vehicle and the family. “As a father, I felt the need to go and help,” he says.

“It’s Christmas, I imagined their family asking questions. Then, yes, we found them. In bad condition, but at least we found them,” he says.

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He maintains that the place where the accident took place is known for its fragile ice. “In winter there, there is a riptide, so it practically never freezes,” says Martin Jr Lavoie, who is also an ice fishing enthusiast. “This year is an exceptional year. […] It's hot, so the ice isn't solid,” he adds.

According to Natalie Hassell, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, weather conditions in early winter 2023 on the Prairies may have prevented the creation of ice thick enough for winter activities.

We've been experiencing rather strong El Niño conditions for months now. This repeatedly gives us conditions well above normal, and in this case, close to 0°C on average, repeatedly, she explains.

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Generally now in the Prairies, where temperatures have been very mild and hot, I would avoid being on the water, on lakes, ponds, rivers.

A quote from Natalie Hassell, meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada

Raynald Hawkins of the Lifesaving Society agrees. “We’re talking about global warming. Necessarily, our winters are likely to be shorter, and definitely [it will] perhaps be more problematic to be able to practice sports on different bodies of water,” he maintains.

Since the start of winter, we haven't had very cold nights that would allow ice to form, he recalls. He calls on people who practice activities on ice to be careful.

He explains that the thermal shock experienced by people finding themselves in freezing water causes hyperventilation, which can render victims unconscious in less than a minute.

An autopsy will be performed on the bodies of the three victims in Edmonton.

With information from Charles Delisle and Dennis Kovtun

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116