Kimberley Search and Rescue is urging caution after responding to multiple extremely serious incidents over the weekend involving people and a dog falling through thin ice on area lakes, with one fatality confirmed by Kimberley RCMP.
On Friday, Mar. 25 KimSAR was called to Moyie Lake, after two people attempted to rescue a dog who had run out onto the ice and fell in themselves.
“We don’t know the outcome of two of the subjects at this point in the time, we had three subjects and a dog fall through, all were critical and the dog died,” a KimSAR manager told the Bulletin Monday morning. “That’s why we’re telling everybody, this is really really really serious. People are going out onto ice that is extremely deceiving, very deceptive.”
“The people who tried to rescue the animal used water craft, so they were trying to do the right thing, and unfortunately, if you get stuck on the ice, you most likely can’t get back. I can’t say much more than that,” SAR added. “Suffice it to say, if someone goes through, an animal goes through dial 911, don’t go out. Don’t go out.”
SAR said that the dog died and the two people who attempted to rescue it were in critical condition at the time SAR arrived. The Bulletin has contacted the Cranbrook RCMP detachment for additional information.
SAR was also deployed to an incident on Sunday, Mar. 27.
Sgt. Steve Woodcox confirmed to the Bulletin that on Sunday, Mar. 27, two males on a quad were heading in towards the shore at Moyie Lake and at about 50 feet from shore the quad broke through the ice and both men went into the water.
“One of the men a 59-year-old was pulled from the water, I believe with the help of maybe Canal Flats Fire Department and our Kimberley RCMP and that male is deceased.”
The Bulletin will follow this story as more information becomes known, but the messaging from SAR at this point is critical.
“If someone else goes in, don’t go in, you might not make it out either, they went in for a reason,” the SAR manager said. “If somebody goes through the ice, dial 911 right away and be very specific and the other thing is to know your phone so you can give coordinates.”
SAR added that they rarely know the outcomes of these incidents after they hand the situation off to other first responders such as BC Ambulance.
“I can say that all three of the subjects were highly, highly affected by the cold water and they couldn’t get out by themselves and the dog didn’t make it.”
The SAR team who is “devastated” following this past weekend’s incidents.
“We choose to volunteer our time to do this but we’re always sad when this happens too,” SAR said, adding a critical incident stress team will come in and work with them.
There was yet another incident on Saturday, Mar. 26 when an off duty KimSAR member saved an individual who had gone through the ice at Horseshoe Lake. The member used a ratchet strap to safely rescue the trapped individual.
SAR recommends using www.adventuresmart.ca before going out into the backcountry for information about ice thickness and to plan trips ahead of time.
Kimberley SAR quoted the Lifesaving Society’s safety tips, saying “Spring ice is rotten ice” and included the following information:
3” (7cm) or less - STAY OFF!
4” (10cm) - ice fishing, walking, cross country skiing
5-7” (13-18cm) - one snowmobile or ATV
8”-12” (20-30cm) - one car, group of people
12”-15” (30-38cm) - one medium truck (pickup or van)
Kimberley SAR recommends staying off lakes and streams at this time as ice conditions continue to deteriorate.