Warning from SAR officials to be careful after several rescues at rivers

Warning from SAR officials to be careful after several rescues at rivers

WATCH: Several recent river rescues has search and rescue officials warning the public to be careful when cooling off in Vancouver Island rivers.

It’s been a busy week for search and rescue teams on the island. In Courtenay the Comox Valley Search and Rescue team was called to the Stotan Falls area of the Puntledge River Wednesday afternoon for a swimmer in trouble.

“He was sitting on a rock ridge and was swept off,” said Comox Valley SAR search manager Scott Larsen. “He got bruised and bumped around and he made it to this logjam and his friends were nearby and someone was able to call 911.”

The 25-year-old man from Nanaimo decided to hunker down and wait for help as he was surrounded by fast-moving water and slippery rocks.

Swift water rescuers made their way to him and eventually used an inflatable kayak to get him to shore.

“I think he was surprised at the force of the water there,” added Larsen. “The water was not that deep but the area where he was, it was a combination of the water pressure as well as dropping down into a pool below him and there’s quite a bit of current in that area.”

Officials say people underestimate the power of flowing water, even when it is shallow is a common occurrence.

In the last week, several other people have found themselves in trouble on Island rivers.

Last Thursday, a man and young girl had to be rescued on the Puntledge after their tubes overturned when they got snagged on a tree.

And several people had to be rescued on the Campbell River Tuesday when their tubes got stuck under a bridge.

Langford fire crews were called to Goldstream Park Wednesday evening when a teenager fell into the water and was hurt. Firefighters and paramedics were able to walk him out to safety.

Rescuers say people should familiarise themselves with rivers before they go in and point to www.adventuresmart.ca as a good source of information for those who want to enjoy the outdoors.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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