By JOHN MOORHOUSE
It could have been pure chance, or it could have been something much more other worldly.
The search for a missing motorcyclist en route to Keremeos from Northern Alberta ended under almost surreal circumstances along an isolated stretch of Highway 5 near Valemount, B.C.
Dennis Gordon Gudmondson’s motorbike and body were discovered down a brush-covered embankment on Saturday by friends and family members about 55 kilometres south of Valemount.
Gudmondson, 61, of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. had been reported missing after he failed to show up at his fiancee’s home in Keremeos on July 8.
Police later issued a request for public assistance along the route. The missing man had used his bank debit card earlier in the day in Prince George and McBride. He was riding a blue 2003 Harley Davidson with Alberta licence plates.
RCMP spokesperson Const. Lesley Smith said Monday family members from Alberta had arranged to meet with some of Gudmondson’s friends from Keremeos somewhere along the North Thompson highway.
Spotting each other’s oncoming vehicles, they pulled over to exchange hugs and condolences.
One member of the group then decided to wander over to the side of the highway and look down the embankment and, incredibly, spotted the undercarriage of the overturned motorcycle in amongst the bushes. Upon looking further, they discovered Gudmondson’s body nearby.
Smith said there was no debris on the highway or skid marks to indicate an accident scene.
“Call it serendipity, call it higher power,” she said. “They just happened to meet right there. One vehicle was going north and one vehicle was going south.”
Smith said the RCMP had already conducted a thorough search of the highway prior to the discovery, including an aerial survey.
“From the air, it was extremely difficult to have been able to see that,” she said. “The undercarriage is dirty and not chromed – there’s no flash of the chrome or the vibrant blue that this motorcycle was.”
“This bike landed in such a way that it was camouflaged from aerial as well as ground (search),” she said. “That’s a long stretch of highway.”
Police continue to investigate the accident. Smith said investigators are also trying to determine whether extreme rider fatigue or a medical condition contributed to the crash. An autopsy is to be conducted in Prince George.
Smith noted it is not uncommon for an accident to remain undetected along such isolated stretches of highway. Sometimes, the wreckage isn’t found for a number of years.