Tragic Weekend Brings River Safety Tips to Mind
Prince George, B.C. – In the wake of a tragic weekend in Prince George which closed with a 15 year old boy missing after trying to beat the heat with a dip in the Fraser River, water safety is top of mind.
( at right, dive team and searchers on the Fraser River, photo-250News)
The two rivers in Prince George are popular spots to try and cool during a hot spell. With temperatures this week expected to hover in the 30 degree range, more people will be floating, boating, and possibly taking a dip in either the Nechako or Fraser.
The Nechako River continues to run high. At Isle Pierre, it was flowing at 760 cubic metres per second, that is more than twice the flow rate for the same time last year when it was at just 363 cubic metres per second.
The Fraser is slightly lower at the South Fort George gauge this year than it was last year at this time. The current level at the Gauge is 6.7 metres, a little less than the 6.95 mark during the same period a year ago.
Still, the dangers are there. The Red Cross advises all who are near open water to “never underestimate the power of current” reminding those who are tempted to take a dip, that swimmers or waders, can be swept away in an instant especially if non-swimmers, or weak swimmers get caught by current in rivers, or out of their depth in abrupt drop offs.
The Red Cross offers these tips in the event you find yourself in a current:
- River currents, especially when concentrated around rocks, bridge pilings, and in hydraulics at the base of dams, have enormous power and can easily trap even strong swimmers.
- If you become caught in a river current or fast moving water, roll onto your back and go downstream feet first to avoid hitting obstacles head first. When you are out of the strongest part of the current, swim straight toward shore.
- If your boat has overturned, hang on to the upstream end of the boat.
The search for the missing teen was suspended yesterday afternoon, ( see previous story) following exhaustive efforts over 48 hours that involved Prince George Search and Rescue and the RCMP Dive team.
The efforts failed to locate the boy. RCMP Corporal Craig Douglass says given the circumstances it is unlikely the teen made it out of the water.