PORT MOODY The deadly summer in B.C waters has claimed one more life, this time at a Tri-Cities beach.
Police and paramedics were called to White Pine Beach at Sasamat Lake in Port Moody Sunday afternoon for a swimmer in distress.
Police said a 24-year-old man was brought to shore by beachgoers, Metro Vancouver park staff and police.
On Monday, the BC Coroners Service confirmed the man died in hospital later that day of his injuries.
The victims name has not been released.
The latest drowning brings the total across the province this year to 44.
The man, who police say was at the lake with a couple of friends, was pulled from the water and taken to shore, where emergency responders performed CPR. Police said they were not sure how long the man had been in the water, but witnesses said the man was in the water for at least five to 10 minutes.
A woman apparently saw the man struggling in the water, and alerted others on the beach. Some people dove into the water, but were unable to reach him in time.
They couldnt get to him in time, said one woman. When they got to where he was, they couldnt find him. They found him five to 10 minutes later.
Exactly how the man ended up nearly drowning in the lake is unclear, but Port Moody police noted the incident is still under investigation.
Last Thursday, a 21-year-old Port Coquitlam man drowned in Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park.
Foul play is not suspected.
Police and paramedics were called to the park in northeast Maple Ridge at about 3:45 p.m. that afternoon.
All efforts by both citizens and the paramedics were unsuccessful in reviving the victim, RCMP Cpl. Alanna Dunlop said.
His name was being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Ironically, the deaths come just as National Drowning Prevention Week gets underway.
Wendy Schultencamper, education director with the Life Saving Society-BC and Yukon branch, suggested the biggest reason for the spike in drowning deaths is the combination of warm weather mixed with leftover from the spring runoff.
She said people are out on the water earlier this year than in most summers.
The Life Saving Society said there were 30 reported drowning deaths in the province at the same time last year and 56 by years end.
Though most drowning deaths are preventable, Schultencamper said there is often complacency around safety precautions when people are in the water.
A lot of people know this stuff, but its that idea that its not going to happen to me, she told the Tri-Cities NOW.
No one expects to go out on the water and not come back.
The last four drowning deaths in the province involved young men in their 20s.
Thats not a surprise to officials with the Life Saving Society, who note 80 per cent of drowning victims are male.
Its not at all unusual to see young males within that age group having a higher drowning rate just because of their risk-taking personas, Schultencamper said.
According to the BC Coroners Service, a review of drowning deaths over the past five years shows that many victims are unfamiliar with the waters involved and therefore dont see the risks or underestimate them. The risks can include such things as unexpected currents, steep and sudden drop offs, or unusually high water levels because of heavy rains or late spring runoff.
The review also showed that 40 per cent of drowning victims were impaired by alcohol or drugs.
The BC Coroners Services has provided a number of safety tips:
* Always wear a properly fitting personal floatation device (PFD) when engaged in boating or tubing activities. If you are suddenly thrown into cold and/or rough water, it may be impossible to find a PFD and put it on, even if you had one in the boat with you. Children, non-swimmers and weak swimmers should also wear a PFD when wading or playing in the water at a river or lakeside.
* Be aware of the area where you are planning your activities. Check the weather forecast before heading out, and do a visual inspection of the area. Do not head blindly down a river or stream without being aware of the water conditions further downstream.
* If you are hosting visitors from another province or country, ensure they are informed about the conditions that prevail in the lake or river you are visiting. Warn them about steep drop-offs, rapids and any other hazards.
* Alcohol and water-related activities do not mix, any more than alcohol and driving do. Alcohol impairs your coordination and judgment, and this substantially adds to the risk inherent in swimming or boating.
* Always supervise children anywhere near water. Pre-school aged children can drown in only a few centimetres of water, and the drowning is often silent. Proper supervision for children of this age involves always having them within arms length of a responsible adult.
* Never dive into unknown waters. Unexpectedly shallow water or hidden obstacles underwater can easily prove fatal.
-With files from The Province and Maple Ridge Times
© Copyright 2013