A quick-acting kayaker helped avert tragedy last Friday, coming to the aid of a fellow paddler in distress.
Coast Guard, police, fire and ambulance crews rushed to White Rock’s waterfront around 3:30 p.m. Oct. 23, following a report of someone in trouble in the water in the 15500-block of Marine Drive.
Fortunately, the situation was all-but-resolved when crews arrived.
“By the time we got there, he was already to shore,” White Rock RCMP Sgt. Joel Glen told Peace Arch News.
Andrew Newman, who operates a whale-watching boat in the area, told PAN he was in the bay with passengers “to show them how peaceful” it is when he heard fire trucks in the distance, followed by a call for “any vessel in the area of East Beach” to assist.
“I told people to hang on,” Newman said, of the caution he issued before setting off to see if he could help.
Newman’s assistance was also not required.
Joel and White Rock fire Chief Phil Lemire did not know how the 39-year-old Surrey resident ran into trouble or if he had been wearing a lifejacket at the time, but said the incident is a good reminder to those who enjoy activities on the water to play safe.
“Kayaking in the ocean by yourself… it’s probably a good idea to let people know where you are and if you’re by yourself, wear a lifejacket,” Glen said.
The incident occurred just two days before Sunday’s tragedy in the waters off of Tofino, where five British nationals died after the whale-watching boat they were on capsized. The search for a sixth victim was turned over to RCMP Sunday night.
Of 27 passengers and crew onboard, 21 were rescued.