A Langley man who went looking for his rescuers has found them.
Ruming Jiang made a public appeal after he and his dog Chiu Chiu were saved from the frigid Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park during a spring break canoe outing on March 25.
When the canoe suddenly capsized, both Jiang and his dog were wearing personal flotation devices, but the extremely cold water nearly turned the mishap into a life-threatening disaster.
Several strangers, working together, helped to get the pair to shore and get treated for hypothermia.
Two men in a boat pulled Jiang and Chiu Chiu out of the water, and returned them, with their canoe, to Derby Reach where two more people, a nurse and an off-duty firefighter put Jiang into a rescue blanket, and assisted him off the boat.
In all the chaos, Jiang didn’t get their names, but he was determined to say thanks and let them know that he and his dog were doing fine.
So the Langley Meadows resident reached out through the Langley Advance Times, creating a webmail address were they could reach him.
As of Wednesday, April 7, most of his rescuers had made contact to say they were glad Jiang and Chiu Chiu were well.
Jiang shared their messages, saying he wouldn’t disclose their names without their permission.
“We are very happy that both you and Chiu Chiu are safe,” the boat owner said.
“Take care of yourself and I hope that next time we see each other on the river the circumstances are different”
The nurse described how she was camping with her family when she heard Jiang calling for help.
She waited for the fishing boat to bring him back to shore and jumped on the boat.
“I quickly took off his wet jacket, sweater and wrapped him in an emergency blanket and got him on shore with the help of an off duty fireman.”
Jiang was in the water approximately 20 minutes before he reached shore, she estimated.
Delta Fire Department Capt. Shawn Cropley, who agreed to be named, recalled standing on the shore of the campground with another “fire department colleague of mine” when they witnessed the capsizing of Jiang’s canoe and called 911.
“Once the rescue boat reached the shore, the park staff asked if anyone had medical training, so I, along with a nurse, jumped on the boat to assess your medical needs,” Cropley told Jiang in his email.
”Fortunately, you were just mildly hypothermic and we basically took off some of your clothes and got you out of the vessel. Glad that you made it!”
“It’s warm living in this nice community,” a grateful Jiang declared.
He has “mixed feelings” because he would like to say thank-you, face-to-face, but cannot.
“I wanted to meet them in person, but it is not worth risking potentially spreading the virus. I’ll reach out to them the first thing after the restriction is lifted.”
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