By Lethbridge Herald on May 19, 2015.
On Sunday May 17 at 4:30 p.m., a local Fox Creek businessman and volunteer firefighter was just packing up his truck and boat and heading home from Iosegun Lake, when he was waved down. RCMP had been advised of a frantic 911 call of capsized boat somewhere on Iosegun Lake, with three people in the icy-cold water.
Without hesitation, the man had his boat back in the lake within minutes, according to the RCMP. A small rescue party comprised of himself and four on and off-duty emergency personnel headed out to find the capsized boat.
Within three minutes they came across a capsized fishing kayak (approximately 300 metres in from the beach area) and a man hanging onto it treading water. He had not been in the water that long and was wearing his life jacket. The fisherman was plucked from the water and quickly returned to the safety of shore, police added.
Understanding he was not the subject of the 911 complaint, the rescue party headed out a second time in search of another capsized boat.
Ten minutes later, they were 2.7 kilometres away from the boat launch at the far end of the lake. They located an over-turned boat. They found three people (ages 38, 31, and 6) still standing on the partially-submerged hull and four other people (ages 54, 54, 3, and 1) 100 metres away on shore.
All had been wearing their life jackets and were clearly suffering from various stages of hypothermia due being in the water for about an hour, according to the RCMP.
Police added fortunately, the rescuer’s boat was very large and powerful vessel, capable holding up to 20 persons and moving very quickly across the lake. Within 10 minutes, everyone was returned to the boat launch where others had warmed their vehicles up waiting to receive them. Alberta EMS arrived soon thereafter.
The local businessman then used his boat to return to the still partially-submerged capsized vessel back to the boat launch, thereby preventing any collisions with it.
Fox Creek RCMP said it could not release the hero’s name to the press, out of respect for the man’s wishes to remain anonymous, but detachment commander Sgt. Warren Wright was thankful for the man’s help.
“Tragedy was narrowly averted based largely on the actions of the local Fox Creek businessman. The rescue efforts would have been considerably delayed had he not been there at the right place, right time, and unconditionally volunteered himself and his powerful boat to the rescue and recovery of 8 people from Iosegun Lake. Each one of them owe him a debt of gratitude. He is truly a local hero and I am very proud to know him.”
Iosegun Lake is 271 kilometres north west of Edmonton.
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