Midnight swim almost turns tragic in South Okanagan

Group mixing alcohol and swimming had to be rescued from Osoyoos Lake on Saturday.

A late midnight swim almost turned tragic when a group mixing alcohol and swimming had to be rescued from Osoyoos Lake on Saturday.

Osoyoos RCMP said they received a report at approximately 1:43 a.m. that several people had jumped off the Osoyoos bridge on Main Street and had been swept out into Osoyoos Lake. Mounties responded with the police boat, other officers confirmed that two females and one male had been swept far from shore toward Haynes Point and all were screaming for help in the dark. The three were in distress as they were under the influence of alcohol and were not wearing life jackets, said RCMP.

Two police officers in the area summoned help from a civilian (from Burnaby) who had a boat close by. A search was conducted using the RCMP boat, the private boat and three men (from Coquitlam, Port Moody, and Forest Grove) who had been on shore and heard the screams for help. They paddled out in a small dingy to assist. The men were able to pull the 24 year old female from Grand Forks into the dingy as the rescue boats arrived. The male was located in the water and was thrown a life vest to stay afloat as he was struggling to stay above water, while the second 28 year old female from Kelowna was pulled to the safety of the private rescue boat from the side of the dingy where she was keeping afloat.

The 28 year old man from Kelowna was pulled to the safety of the police boat in an exhausted condition and the female in the dingy was also transferred into the boat. The male and two females were transported to the awaiting BC Ambulance paramedics who examined them on shore. All three were cold but suffered no injuries and were released by BC Ambulance.

RCMP said the three subjects are very fortunate to have been located and rescued in the dark. The strong current had pushed them far out into the lake and more than half way to Haynes Point.

“Alcohol and water are a bad combination and had it not been for the quick response and efforts from the men from shore with the dingy, the private boat operator, Osoyoos RCMP officers and police boat this could have ended in a triple tragedy,” said Sgt. Kevin Schur.