Family rescued from Puntledge River rapids despite public safety advisory

Family rescued from Puntledge River rapids despite public safety advisory

Despite the warnings, a family needed to be rescued from the Puntledge River and its rapids earlier this week.

Members of the Comox Valley Search and Rescue team were called out to the river Thursday. It was just after 7 p.m. when those in the area reported to authorities they could hear calls for help coming from the Puntledge.

“The subjects were on the second island in the middle. Very near the upstream side of it,” Scott Larsen with the Comox Valley SAR said. “My understanding is that it was an inflatable device that they had floated down in. At one point it actually popped, and they were able to make their way to the island shore.”

Within a short time, search and rescue personnel were dispatched onto the water and they managed to retrieve the family of three, who were visiting from Saskatchewan.

A SAR member paddles out to rescue the family of three. | Courtesy of Ashley Birley

BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson said there is a public safety advisory in effect along the river until May 18th as the crown corporation releases an excess of water from Comox Lake Dam.

He says the increased flow is dangerous.

“It’s not worth it. Please find other places to escape the heat this weekend,” Watson said.

Signs along the river warn people to stay out of the water.

“The current flow rate is around twice the typical flow rate for this time of year. And in fact, Monday it’ll get to be a third higher than it is now. Come this weekend, with the warm weather, I know a lot of people are going to want to come here tubing or otherwise. But our advisory is to please, stay away from the river system,” Watson said.

WATCH: First heat wave of the year to hit Vancouver Island this weekend

READ: Puntledge River surge creates ideal kayaking conditions, but paddle with caution: BC Hydro

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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