Man dead after drowning in Sasamat Lake, officials urge caution
A recent spate of drowning deaths has B.C. officials urging people to take precautions in the water.
A 24-year-old man died in hospital after drowning in Sasamat Lake at White Pine Beach Sunday, the BC Coroners Service has confirmed.
According to Port Moody police, the man was spotted in the lake by beachgoers and pulled to shore. A helicopter airlifted him to hospital where he later died, a coroner said.
It’s just the latest in a string of deadly incidents that has the Lifesaving Society warning swimmers to be careful this summer.
On Saturday, a 21-year-old drowned while swimming at Thetis Lake near Victoria and a 19-year-old man died while rafting on the Similkameen River in Keremeos.
North of Hedley, a 45-year-old Keremeos man died after his small boat capsized. A friend in the boat was able to swim to shore, but the man’s body was not located until Sunday by Penticton Search and Rescue.
On Thursday another 21-year-old man died in Alouette Lake in Maple Ridge.
Wendy Schultenkamper with the Lifesaving Society of BC said there has been a sharp rise in the number of drownings this year.
“Last year at this time we saw about 25 drownings compared to the over 40 now that we have seen up until this point this year,” she said.
Schultenkamper suggested taking swimming lessons and learning basic lifesaving skills to be able to respond in an emergency. She also said people should get to know their surroundings before heading out on the water.
“There are things like currents and moving water and drop offs that perhaps you need to be aware about, especially if you're not a strong swimmer,” she said.
This time of year is especially risky for swimmers and 60 per cent of B.C. drowning deaths occur between May and August each year, according to the BC Coroners Service.
July 20-27 is National Drowning Prevention Week in Canada.
With files from CTV British Columbia’s Maria Weisgarber