Incidents highlight river safety need

Karen Longwell
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Two incidents near the river serve as a reminder for water safety in the coming months.

A person was pushed into the North Saskatchewan River at around 6:50 p.m. on Saturday. Parkland Ambulance Paramedics responded to the incident in the downtown area of the city.

Paramedics treated one person for minor injuries and they were transported to Victoria Hospital for further care and treatment.

Two incidents near the river serve as a reminder for water safety in the coming months.

A person was pushed into the North Saskatchewan River at around 6:50 p.m. on Saturday. Parkland Ambulance Paramedics responded to the incident in the downtown area of the city.

Paramedics treated one person for minor injuries and they were transported to Victoria Hospital for further care and treatment.

Prince Albert Fire Department also responded to the scene.

In a second incident on Saturday at 6:15 a.m. a vehicle drove into the river near 15th Avenue East. Paramedics treated two people for minor injuries and they were transported to hospital.

Both incidents were relatively minor but focus the need to be careful near the water.

"Recently in Prince Albert there have been a number of incidents where people have fallen or been pushed into the North Saskatchewan River," said Lyle Karasiuk, spokesperson for Parkland Ambulance.

"The murky waters, rocky shore line and very fast moving current all combined can be disastrous to anyone."

Earlier in April and May two people fell into the river from the train bridge in two separate incidents.

People may think they are strong enough to swim in the river but the current is quite strong.

Karasiuk said there have been fatalities in recent years. He recalls a child drowning in the river about 10 years ago.

"Every year there are few incidents, especially when there is a large gathering."

It only takes a few seconds for caregivers to lose track of a child and that time could be deadly.

"A small child (one or two years old) can drown in less than an inch of water."

The river is often a hub of activity in the summer with boating, fishing and special events.

This coming weekend, the Dave Thompson Brigade will bring activity to the area.

Karasiuk said this activity should be encouraged as the river is a beautiful space but people also have to remember water safety.

"Please stay a safe distance from the shore line. There are no barriers along the river bank so it would be easy to fall over the side."

Safety tips also include not drinking and driving a boat. Always wear a personal flotation device - you won't be able to put one on quickly enough in an emergency.

klongwell@paherald.sk.ca

Organizations: Victoria Hospital, Prince Albert Fire Department, Prince Albert

Geographic location: North Saskatchewan River, 15th Avenue East

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