01/26/2015 08:00 EST | Updated 03/28/2015 05:59 EDT

Police credit B.C. conservation officer for saving life of man whose pal died

POWELL RIVER, B.C. - Police say a conservation officer with extensive knowledge of the backcountry saved a man whose friend drowned in frigid lake waters near Powell River, B.C.

RCMP say when the men failed to return from a fishing trip, their friends and family alerted authorities, though no one knew exactly where they'd gone.

Mounties say a conservation officer who joined the search found the men's truck parked at Khartoum Lake, where he heard someone calling for help.

They say he drove to a nearby fish hatchery and enlisted the help of staff who returned to the lake with him and discovered a man who'd managed to swim to shore but couldn't hike out because of the rugged terrain.

RCMP say the hypothermic man had spent the night sitting on the shore and was taken to hospital for treatment.

But police say his 44-year-old friend, who was not a strong swimmer, drowned in the frigid water and that his body was discovered two days later.