A man who was missing on Lake of the Woods has been found deceased. The man originally went missing after his boat capsized, which lead to the deaths of two other residents.

The deceased have been identified as 50-year-old John Copenace, 19-year-old Bluebird Major, and 42-year-old Marshall Morrison, all of Big Grassy First Nation.

On October 15, members of the Kenora OPP responded to the report of the three missing males near Manitou Island, after their vessel capsized and the men had not surfaced. Two of the men were found deceased on October 16, and a search began for the third male immediately afterwards. He was found deceased on October 18.

Treaty #3 Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh extended his condolences to the families involved, and the community of Big Grassy First Nation.

“I want to share my heartfelt condolences and prayers to the families and to the community on behalf of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty#3. The men will all be remembered for their contribution to the family, community and their dedication and sharing of culture and traditional lifestyle. Your families’ grief is shared across the territory and our collective hearts are heavy with the news of the magnitude of the loss.” 

“I want to commend the hard work of the first responders who had to work in such adverse weather conditions to recover the victims and the immediate response of the regional health organizations who sent in crisis workers and staff to provide mental health support services. I know that the families, community of Big Grassy First Nation we will recover from this tragedy, our citizens are strong and resilient and the Treaty#3 leadership supports them in their healing and in securing any resources needed from government to assist them in their healing journey”, added Kavanaugh. 

Kavanaugh also reminded residents to keep looking for missing 26-year-old Bradley Kirkrude of Big Island First Nation. He was reported missing on October 8. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the OPP or the Treaty Three Police Service immediately. 

By law, every boat in Ontario must carry a life-jacket or personal floatation device for each person on board and should be readily available in an emergency. The OPP is encouraging boaters to wear their life jackets, as weather can turn in a matter of minutes.

Police say that on the lake in the fall, boaters should always:

- take a paper map with them,
- have a way to make a fire,
- have a flashlight,
- take something extra to to eat,
- have a space blanket and
-a blaze orange vinyl or plastic tarp to signal and to keep the rain and snow off

For more information: 
Fatal incident leads to search for missing boater

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