Four people were rescued after floating past Skaha Bridge on Thursday (July 2) afternoon.
At approximately 12:40 p.m. Penticton Fire Department responded to a report of a woman and child trapped in an inner tube at the abutment of the bridge, entering Skaha Lake. They were told one was not wearing a life jacket, one was not a great swimmer, and panic was setting in.
Upon arrival, the fire department found no signs of any entrapment. However, several individuals using the channel had floated past the bridge and into the lake, and were in need of assistance getting back to shore.
“We had our marine units assist with bystanders who were already bringing them in, and we just got everybody safely to shore and make sure they made it back on the right side of the highway here,” said Penticton Fire Department captain Curtis Gibbons.
All four people were taken back to shore safely, and no one was transported to hospital.
He said this year, a higher volume of water flowing through the channel, and an increased number of people using the channel, can result in more individuals being carried past the bridge.
“People are going to get wrapped up around those (abutments) if they tie their units together,” said Gibbons.
The captain encouraged everyone to be safe while floating the channel.
“We just extend that information that’s already being shared by multiple sources; it’s (channel) a high water hazard, with quick moving water, take all precautions as best as possible.
“Wear your PPE (personal protective equipment), personal flotation devices if you’re not great swimmers, make sure the weather conditions are good to be out in the water, know where your exit points are, and plan well in advance if you can.”