A 23-year-old mother of two almost lost her children after she decided to float down a creek Wednesday afternoon.
Columbia Valley RCMP says the woman put her one-year-old daughter into a small inflatable dinghy, then climbed in with her three-month-old son and began paddling down Dutch Creek, in Fairmont BC.
Her daughter was wearing a PFD vest, but was quickly swept downstream when the dinghy got hung up on some debris and overturned.
The mother was able to get out of the creek with her young son, but was unable to retrieve her daughter. Two other people who were also at the scene attempted to reach the child, but lost sight of her in the fast-flowing creek.
Columbia Valley RCMP, local search and rescue, and fire crews were also deployed to the scene.
The child was found on a sandbar and extricated by the swift water recovery team. She was provided assisted breathing while being flown to Invermere District Hospital and then transported to Calgary by STARS air ambulance.
Both children are said to be in stable condition.
The rescue happened just days ahead of National Water Safety Week, where RCMP detachments across the province will be raising awareness and providing advice on how to keep safe while playing in or near the water.
According to stats from the Canadian Drowning Report, which are consistent with the BC Coroners Service Accidental Drowning Deaths 2008-2012 Report:
- Half (51%) of fatalities between 2006 and 2010 occurred on the weekend (Friday-Sunday) and half (49%) during the week (Monday-Thursday);
- The majority of deaths occur during daytime hours between 5am and 6pm;
- The biggest increase in water related deaths is among Baby Boomers between the ages of 50 to 64 years;
- The risk-taking age group between 18-24 years old continue to have the highest water-related death rate of any age group in Canada at 2.2 per 100,000 population;
- The vast majority of drowning victims continue to be men. Each year, 8 out of 10 drowning victims are male. Between 2008 and 2012 in British Columbia, 81.1% of drowning victims were males, which is slightly under the 83% rate across the country;
- The leading risk factor contributing to accidental drowning among the high risk groups (Baby Boomers/Seniors and young males) seems to be the reluctance of wearing a life jacket.
Visit the BC RCMP’s website for other water safety tips specifically for children to reduce their risk of drowning.