January 01, 2016 - 5:00 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - It was a deadly year on the region’s waterways, from houseboat-related deaths to mysterious drownings that should serve as a big reminder in 2016 to stay safe on the water.
In June, a man’s body was found in Kalamalka Lake by a standup paddler. Days later, it was discovered that a second man, and friend of the deceased’s, had gone missing. Curtis Wilson was presumed drowned by the RCMP, but his family hasn’t given up looking for him. They launched an extensive search for his body, but neither divers, specially trained canine teams, or sonar equipment was able to find him. Wilson’s family still hasn’t given up the search.
In August, with less than a month to go before he was set to be married, Kelowna man Rene Bourgault died rafting with friends in the Kicking Horse River near Golden.
Tragedy struck again Aug. 17 when a 12-year-old girl drowned in Osoyoos Lake. The Calgary girl was camping with family at Haynes Point when she fell into deep water. She didn’t know how to swim. The life of a North Vancouver man was also claimed in Osoyoos Lake earlier in the summer. Samen Pirzadeh-Tabaei-Zavareh, 34, was jet-skiing when the vessel capsized due to strong winds and water currents.
In October, a Kelowna man died after being found submerged in a lagoon near the Delta Grand hotel on Water Street. His death is not considered suspicious.
Lives were also lost in houseboat-related incidents in 2015. Andrea Jacura, a 22-year-old Alberta woman, died after getting sucked into a boat propeller, and Scott Glenn, 24, from Saskatchewan, died after jumping off a house-boat on Mara Lake. We took an in-depth look at the house boating industry in the Shuswap — the so-called houseboat capital of Canada — to get some answers about safety on the water. We talked to search and rescue crews, people who have lost friends to houseboat accidents, the B.C. Coroners Service and Transport Canada. You can read that story here.
We were also reminded of the importance of lifejackets in 2015 when two young girls got stranded on Okanagan Lake. It was a close call, and rescuers say lifejackets saved their lives.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016