Fatal tubing accident update
Jul 29, 2012 / 10:49 pm
Two people are dead and a third person is presumed drowned after they were swept over a set of waterfalls during a tubing accident near Grand Forks, this weekend.
Police and rescue crews were called to Kettle River Saturday afternoon when two men and one woman from a group of approximately 13 people on a tubing adventure were swept up in the current past Trestle Bridge, west of Cascade Falls, RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said.
Witnesses pulled a 74-year-old man from Christina Lake out from the water below the falls, but despite efforts he could not be revived.
Campers staying at a campground downstream witnessed the man being pulled ashore.
"People were hanging their heads and stuff like that, so it's something you do not ever want to see,” James Pike of Cascade Cove Campground said.
Search and rescue technicians were unable to find the body of the man’s 71-year-old wife before nightfall. After resuming the search on Sunday, they recovered the woman’s body from the gorge by using a helicopter.
Police said the body of a 50-year-old Scottish man has not yet been found. His body is possibly trapped in the falls and could take a week to surface.
The names of victims have not yet been released.
Rescue co-ordinator Barry Savitskoff heard the tragedy taking place.
"The whole family was up here and I, from the campground, could even hear the screaming, the family screaming, as it was going on,” he said.
"They were just floating down and all of a sudden they realized, ‘Oh no, we've got to, we're in trouble here,’ because you come around the corner and all of a sudden you’re in the canyon,” Savitskoff added.
“I guess they bailed, the 16-year-old boy made it to shore and the rest didn't."
RCMP Staff Sgt. Jim Harrison said fatalities at Cascade Falls are unfortunately common. This weekend’s victims were the first fatalities of the year and in 2011 one person died there.
He added the area is known for being dangerous and local residents should know not to tube there.
Although young people occasionally jump off the bridge or the nearby cliffs, locals say they’ve never heard of people riding a raft into the area of Kettle River and going over the falls.
For some the accident is particularly hard to accept because the couple were from the area.
“This was locals. All the kids are usually are not locals. They don't know too much about the waters, but this couple they should have known, they should have known,” Savitskoff said.
With files from CTV British Columbia’s Kent Molgat
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