6-year-old girl on inflatable rescued after being swept out to sea off Nanaimo’s shore


There was a terrifying rescue at a Nanaimo beach Sunday evening after a six-year-old girl was swept out to sea on an inflatable.

On Sunday night, at Piper’s Lagoon Park, a six-year-old girl got into a pizza inflatable with a woman but when the woman came to shore, the girl continued to float away.

“The floaty was just slowly going out like it was caught kind of in the currents I guess and was just going farther and farther away and you realize she’s way too far away,” says Dave Lawrence, who was on the beach with his family.

A number of people got into the water including Lawrence, who grabbed his son’s life jacket and started swimming out.

But the currents were taking the girl out quicker than the swimmers could make up the distance.

“Then the people that started before I did kind of quit because they realized how far out it was and they didn’t want to drown so they turned back,” said Lawrence.

“There was a guy that swam full steam really quick and seemed to almost get to her I thought but then he turned back because it was just too much for him. I guess so the whole time the girl is just screaming on the thing like she’s just terrified.”

Onlookers called 911 and the Canadian Coast Guard issued an emergency call for area boaters on the water. A nearby kayaker arrived and reached the girl, and a boater also arrived not long after.

The kayaker kept Lawrence company until he swam back to the shore.

“He had such a positive take on it. He goes this is awesome to see the community coming together to help this person in need and the fact that the fire department was there and it had just such a happy ending. We’re thrilled that the girl’s okay,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence says it seemed the family was not prepared for the ocean and the situation wouldn’t have been so scary if the girl had been wearing a personal floatation device.

Last week B.C. saw several drownings, including one that claimed the life of a former Westshore Rebels standout receiver.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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