Rocky Mountain House, Alberta – At approximately 7:30 p.m., on July 23, 2017, Rocky Mountain House RCMP received a 911 call of boaters in distress on Abraham Lake, located west of Nordegg, Alberta. RCMP immediately responded with assistance from Rocky Volunteer Search and Rescue, Park Rangers, Fire Department, EMS and Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officers. Emergency personnel faced reduced light conditions in the late evening hours and were also hindered by an intense storm that had moved into the area causing huge waves on the lake.
An Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officer and two Firemen were able to launch their rescue boat and navigate the shoreline locating two adults huddled under their small rubber boat positioned under a tree trying to stay warm. A 33 year old man from Smokey Lake, Alberta and a 22 year old female from Willingdon, Alberta were found to be in a near hypothermic state and were quickly shuttled to EMS for medical attention.
Earlier in the evening, the two outdoor enthusiasts took a small “dinghy” rubber boat out on the lake near the Klein River. Neither had a life preserver, rope or bailer bucket as required by law. Both were wearing shorts, t-shirts and sandals. Once out on the water, the wind blew them away from shore to the middle of the lake where the white-capped waves blew them further and further from shore. Fortunately, the waves did not capsize the small boat.
In this case, both have been charged for failing to have life jackets as required by the Canada Shipping Act and additional charges are pending. Alcohol was a factor in the incident.
Police wish to remind all recreational boaters and fisherman to exercise caution and take the necessary precautions when planning a wilderness expedition. Approved personal floatation devices and thermal protective wear should be worn at all times. Extra food, medical and camping supplies should also be packed in case of an emergency. Family, friends or neighbors should be advised of itineraries, destinations and expected return times.
This is the fifth Search and Rescue mission in the last few weeks in the Abraham Lake area.
Rocky Mountain House RCMP