Untrained People Warned Against Water Rescues

After three recent water related deaths, the Lifesaving Society is asking people to think twice before rescuing anyone from lakes or rivers.

On July 1st, a 36-year-old man jumped out of a boat on Lake Diefenbaker to rescue some swimming children who were in distress. The man did not resurface.

On July 3rd, when a 51-year-old woman began to struggle while swimming, a 60-year-old man tried to save her and began to struggle as well. Both people were taken to shore by other swimmers and declared dead by EMS.

If you see someone in distress while they are in the water and you are in a boat, the best strategy is to throw a spare life jacket or another floating object to the person. You could also reach a long object like a paddle for the person to hang on to.

While help is on the way, trying calming the person down and giving them the strength to continue by talking to them

“Sometimes the person who’s in distress just needs a little bit of reassurance that somebody is there. They see that they need help and that someone is there to help them,” said public education coordinator for the Lifesaving Society, Kelsey Gallagher.

The Lifesaving Society reports that drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death among Canadians under 60 years of age (surpassed only by motor vehicle collisions and poisoning).

In Canada, drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional injury deaths among children 1-4 years of age, and the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years. Drowning is among the top causes of death for children worldwide.

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