Floating tribute honours missing men

Jenny
Jenny McCarthy
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Orange, blue and yellow balloons stood out against grey sky

Hundreds of balloons floated up into the sky over the Churchill River on the evening of May 25 as friends and family of Roy Sainsbury, Ryan Russell and Randy Rose gathered to say farewell.

The three young College of the North Atlantic students - ages 18 and 19 - had gone missing during a canoe trip on the river the week before.

From left, Randy Rose, Ryan Russell, and Roy Sainsbury

Happy Valley-Goose Bay -

Hundreds of balloons floated up into the sky over the Churchill River on the evening of May 25 as friends and family of Roy Sainsbury, Ryan Russell and Randy Rose gathered to say farewell.

The three young College of the North Atlantic students - ages 18 and 19 - had gone missing during a canoe trip on the river the week before.

Charlene Clark, a friend of the Sainsbury family's, said the balloon release was for friends and family who couldn't attend the memorial service in Sainsbury's hometown of Cartwright the weekend before.

For her, the release was emotional.

"Roy was a great inspiration to all who knew him," she said. "My youngest daughter, who is in Grade 1, even wrote a letter to her class explaining why she was sad, and wrote about Roy."

The orange balloons were chosen because it is the colour of Cartwright's winter games. Clark said it was a colour 18-year-old Sainsbury wore many times because of his involvement with a variety of teams.

On this day, the orange, blue and yellow balloons stood out against the grey sky - blue for 18-year-old Russell and yellow for 19-year-old Rose.

"The causeway was lined up with people," Clark said. "It was very heartwarming to see so many friends and family."

She'd expected to see about 50 people, but close to 300 turned out.

"There were about 50 more cars coming to the causeway as we were leaving," she said.

A few days earlier, fellow students and friends of the three young men had gone to Charlottetown for a memorial service for Russell and to the Cartwright memorial for Sainsbury. A candlelight vigil for Rose was held at the college in his hometown, Happy Valley-Goose Bay May 26.

The three disappeared at Muskrat Falls after they fell or jumped from their canoe before it reached the falls.

The river was searched, but all searchers found was a matching pair of sneakers belonging to one of the men and three pieces of their 18-foot aluminum boat.

RCMP Sgt. Guy Caines said searchers have covered the entire river and they hope to find something once the water level dips.

That could take as long as a month, he said.

The Labradorian

Organizations: Sainsbury's, RCMP

Geographic location: Happy Valley, Goose Bay, Churchill River Charlottetown

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  • darls
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    my condoulances to all the families...may their souls rest in peace

  • darls
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    my condoulances to all the families...may their souls rest in peace