Steady increase of new Canadians or foreign nationals who have died in B.C.’s waters, RCMP says | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Steady increase of new Canadians or foreign nationals who have died in B.C.’s waters, RCMP says

August 24, 2020 - 6:30 AM

The RCMP's Underwater Recovery Team, which conducts investigations throughout B.C., has seen an increase in drownings in recent months and these calls have included complex recoveries from areas of the province that the team does not often attend.

"It is thought that people are travelling further into the wilderness given that many of the usual recreational areas have been closed,"  Sgt. Steven Pebernat, Underwater Recovery Team Diving Co-ordinator said in a press release.

"What we are seeing a lot of this year in particular, is individuals who are not familiar with B.C.’s waters getting themselves into precarious and consequential situations by not taking safety precautions and not being informed of the water conditions or their abilities."

The recovery team also has seen a steady increase of new Canadians or foreign nationals that have passed away in B.C.’s waters.

The URT would like to remind people that the water in British Columbia can be cold, and many creeks and rivers have strong currents, which is why it is important to always research and plan ahead, let someone know where you are going, and bring necessary equipment to navigate BC waters.

Some helpful reminders to help you stay safe this summer:

  •     Always swim with a buddy. And play and swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.
  •     Don’t leave children unsupervised. Drowning can occur in as little as 10 seconds.
  •     If you can’t swim, wear a lifejacket or PFD at all times.
  •     Stay alert! Observe the conditions closely before you step out onto the shoreline and keep an eye on incoming waves.

The team dates back to April 1977 and evolved out of an ever increasing demand for underwater support in the searching for and recovery of evidence or individuals. There are Underwater Recovery Teams established in all Districts throughout the Province.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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