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Kelowna  

Scary minutes on the lake

There was a feeling of helplessness for Michelle Warren during what should have been a fun family outing at a Kelowna beach, Monday.

Warren, her two children and her father were out for their annual Sea-Doo day on Okanagan Lake.

She says her father and autistic 17-year-old son were on the water when things went wrong, and their watercraft flipped in the middle of the lake.

"I had a feeling something had happened," she said, "because they hadn't come back."

"I was watching an area where I had a suspicion they were, and as they drifted closer I could tell it was them ... there was someone in the water and someone on the Sea-Doo."

Panicking, Warren ran to a house next to the beach access to try and get help, but was told they didn't have access to a boat.

She called 911, but, by the time a boat could be dispatched, her father and son had reached an area where there was a sand bar, and they were able to walk in the rest of the way.

She said her father was able to get the watercraft upright, but had no way of getting her son back on the vessel.

"My dad couldn't get my son on it. He's about six-five, 240 pounds. There was no physical way to get him back on it, and he can't really follow instructions."

Her father was able instead to use a rope to tow her son back to shore.

While the 30 to 40-minute ordeal ended well, Warren says she was disappointed with the reaction, or lack thereof, from other boaters in the area.

"I saw so many boats go by them ... If they were really in trouble, nobody would have known, because nobody even asked if they needed help. Of the amount of people on the lake, nobody bothered to investigate," she said.

"I had no way of knowing if they were injured or not ... I was hearing my son in the water and had no way to go to him."



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