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Body of man who drowned saving dog in Osoyoos Lake found

Tom Dennehy drowned trying to rescue one of his dogs
Tom Dennehy, seen int his photo with his two dogs, drowned in Osoyoos Lake after trying to rescue one of his dogs July 25. (Contributed)

The body of 41-year-old Tom Dennehy, who drowned in Osoyoos Lake on July 25, has been found.

Members from the RCMP E Division and National Division underwater recovery team (URT) located and recovered Dennehy’s body at approximately 10:30 am, on Aug. 3.

His body was located 24 metres down and approximately 120 metres from where he was last seen through the use of side scan sonar. The system is towed behind the police vessel near the bottom of the lake and reflects a sonar image back to the operators on the vessel.

“The Osoyoos RCMP were in regular communication during the search with Tom’s mom and brother who travelled from France and the United Kingdom,” said Sgt Jason Bayda, Commander of the Osoyoos RCMP. “We will continue to offer our support to his family after they return home.”

“Tom was well known in the community and the Osoyoos RCMP would like to express our deepest condolences to Tom’s family and friends.”

RCMP boats and a helicopter were out B.C. Day weekend searching for him.

Dennehy, who is from Oliver, was a much-loved pillar of the community and well known at Area 27. He had a passion for motorcycle racing and a love for his two dogs.

On July 25, at 8:30 p.m., the Osoyoos RCMP responded to a 911 call of a man who had gone under the water in Osoyoos Lake near White Sands and failed to resurface. The missing man and his friend were stationary in the middle of Osoyoos Lake in the missing man’s surf boat while the man was playing fetch with his dogs.

It appears one of his dogs became distressed and he swam out to help it, said Sgt. Bayda at the time.

READ MORE: Oliver man presumed drowned trying to rescue his dog

Dennehy and his dog became separated from the boat due to the wind and the friend witnessed the dog climb on the man’s back, weighing him down. The dog managed to make it back to the boat but Dennehy did not.

Police, civilians and friends of Dennehy searched until after dark. Police, with the assistance of Osoyoos Fire Rescue, continued the search for several hours on July 26.

Dennehy’s sister from the U.K had started a crowdfunding campaign to extend the search effort.

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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