- Published on Friday, 15 June 2012 08:44
- Written by Michael James | © DrumhellerMail.com
On Saturday evening, the Drumheller Fire Department was out in full force on the river after a resident reported an overturned canoe floating down the Red Deer River.
Emergency crews were forced to assume the worst; someone canoeing on the river had capsized and was in need of help.
The canoe was observed floating by the Rosedale Suspension Bridge by a resident and reported to the Drumheller RCMP. The RCMP immediately informed the Fire Department, and within minutes an emergency alert was activated and crews were on the river to retrieve the boat and anybody who may be in trouble.
When crews came upon the boat by the hoodoos they found a life jacket and an oar. The canoe was pulled ashore in East Coulee. The night was growing dark, forcing a pause in the search for the canoe’s occupant.
The next morning, the RCMP received some good, yet frustrating news.
“The next morning [Sunday], the person who rented it called our office and asked if anyone had found their canoe,” said Staff Sergeant Art Hopkins.
A couple had rented a canoe from Edmonton and were trying to launch from Riverview Park. They lost control of the canoe and it was carried away by the river. The two searched for the canoe, but waited until the next morning to inform the RCMP.
“They neglected to phone anybody about the canoe. The Fire Department went out to see if anybody was in need of assistance, when in fact, it was just a lost canoe,” said Staff Sergeant Hopkins. “It was quite a waste.”
In this situation, emergency personnel must operate under the assumption someone is in trouble.
“It was overturned, so we have to assume, until proven otherwise, somebody is in the river,” said Fire Chief Bill Bachynski.
The river can be dangerous, especially considering it is running high at the moment.
“At the height the river is now, people should use extreme caution. It doesn’t matter if it’s high or low water, you have to be cautious, make sure you wear a life jacket,” said Bachynski.
Residents are also asked to report immediately if something akin to this situation happens. Had the couple reported the missing canoe sooner, emergency personnel could have been saved for a real emergency.