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UPDATE: Drowning in Okanagan River Channel

B.C. Ambulance Service paramedics can be seen with a man pulled from the Okanagan River Channel in Penticton, Wednesday, June 28, 2017.
June 28, 2017 - 6:14 PM

PENTICTON – A man pulled from the Okanagan River Channel in Penticton this afternoon has died.

Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth says at around 3:18 p.m. today, June 28, police received a call about a man in distress in the Okanagan River Channel. He had been floating down the channel with four friends.

The four friends made it to shore safely, but the victim was caught in his floatation device's ropes which had lodged itself against the middle bridge abutment on Green Mountain Road at the Channel Parkway.

“He was screaming for help, but couldn’t keep his head above water,” Wrigglesworth says. He was pronounced dead at Penticton Regional Hospital.

Police arriving on scene were unable to assist due to the extremely high and fast moving water in the channel.

Wrigglesworth says by the time police arrived, the man, believed to be around 21 years old and a non-resident of Penticton, had been underwater approximately five minutes.

“It was a very dangerous location for anyone to enter. Police made sure no rescue efforts were attempted that could cause more injuries,” he says.

Penticton Fire Department’s swift water rescue team arrived and with water support from the department’s rescue boats, were able to bring the man to shore where resuscitation efforts were initiated.

There is no word on the man’s condition at this time.

— This story was updated at 4:47 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, 2017 to include new information from RCMP.

— This story was updated at 6:12 p.m. June 28 to include an update on the drowning and to correct information supplied by RCMP. 

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