June 17th, 2024

Officials urge caution after woman drowns in river

By Herald on June 15, 2021.

Brendon Pyne of the Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services water rescue team talks to media Tuesday about a drowning at Popson Park. Herald photo by Al Beeber

Al Beeber – Lethbridge Herald

Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services is warning residents to be cautious when using the Oldman River for recreation after a 42-year-old woman drowned near Popson Park Monday.

The unidentified woman was swimming with friends and went under the water after becoming separated. Witnesses said she began having difficulties with the river’s current. Friends tried to rescue her but lost sight of the woman.

The No. 2 fire station was dispatched and the water rescue team deployed, said Brendon Pyne of the water rescue team Tuesday.

Paramedics got into the river near the Paradise Canyon Golf Course and managed to find her but rescuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.

No. 2 station from the westside was deployed for a potential drowning victim and while they were deployed, our water  rescue team was also put on alert and by the time No. 2 station got there, they were able to locate the victim, “ Pyne said.

The exact location on the river where she went under was not available to media, nor any information about alcohol being involved.

Pyne said people need to be careful when on the water.

“With the heat waves we’re currently having, everybody wants to get out on the water, cool down and this time of the year, the rivers are running a little bit higher than usual so we just want to see people be as safe as they possibly can.

“Some of the things we want to see people doing out on the river is having their PFDs, especially if you’re not a swimmer.”

Groups also should identify the non-swimmers among them.

“Check your flotation device, make sure it’s sound and it’s going to hold air and be good for the duration of your trip. Follow a float plan, let somebody know where you’re putting in, where you expect to get out, how long you expect that trip,” he said.

“If you do have to abandon your floatation device, bring it with you, don’t leave it on the shore because people see that and then they call 911 and we have to go start looking for somebody who’s not there,” he added.

Pyne said the river does have hazards that won’t be visible from the surface including currents which he calls “very deceptive,” as well as  foot entanglements, holes in the ground, rocks, tree stumps,  weeds, and barbed wire.

An autopsy has been ordered by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.

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