VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The RCMP and the BC Coroners Service are asking people to be careful and use their common sense as water levels continue to rise around the province.
The school year has wrapped up for many kids and it’s the first weekend of the summer, so lots of people are expected to be out on the water.
Gord Molendyk with the North Okanagan RCMP says they had a close call on Wednesday.
“There were a couple of kids floating on a stream here in Kelowna, they got overturned and luckily they made it to shore,” Molendyk says. “We called out searchers to look for them and in that case it was a happy ending, but it could have been far more tragic. We’ve lost a couple of people already this year.”
Roughly 500 people drown every year in Canada and Molendyk says many of those cases happen when a person jumps into the water to try and save a pet.
“We don’t advise people try to save their pets if they fall in,” Molendyk says. “Walking next to a river bank or stream is not a very advisable thing because there is a lot of undermining of the riverbanks and your weight could be all it takes to break away and you’ll wind up in the water.”
Barb McClintock with the BC Coroners Service says currents are often stronger than people realize.
“If you do fall in, it may be much more difficult to self-rescue than it would be later in the summer when that river is a bit of a lazy stream,” McClintock says. “As much as you can, the idea is to stay away from the bank of the river and stay back from the water.”
McClintock and Molendyk also want people to keep an eye on their kids and keep them in life jackets if they’re playing near a river or stream.