Life-jackets urged after 33rd drowning death in Quebec this summer
Published Saturday, July 21, 2018 9:19AM EDT
A water safety advocacy group in Quebec is urging boaters to wear life-jackets following the province’s 33rd drowning death so far this summer.
On Thursday evening, rescue officials recovered the body of an 18-year-old kayaker from Lac-St-Louis, off the shores of Beaconsfield, Que.
First responders say they found the man’s kayak lying on the shore and found his life-jacket floating in the water a short time later.
One witness who tried to save the man described the scene with CTV Montreal.
“I just saw a poor guy in distress, flailing his hands,” she said. “He was asking for help. I was too far to get to him and at one point he was bobbing, and then we didn’t see his head and I was expecting him to come back up but he didn’t.”
“It’s tragic. It’s totally tragic.”
Rescue officials say the man rented the kayak from a city-operated program that offers paddleboards and kayaks. The city of Beaconsfield suspended rentals on Thursday and Friday, but are expected to offer the program again on Saturday.
This is Quebec’s 33rd drowning death of the summer, nine more than all last year. Earlier this week, two fishermen in their 30s also drowned in the waters of Lac-St-Louis. The Quebec Lifesaving Society says the majority of drowning deaths thus far have been from young men not wearing life-jackets.
“They don't think they're going to fall overboard,” said Raynald Hawkins, head of the Quebec Lifesaving Society.
The organization says just having a life-jacket in your boat isn’t enough. They say anxiety, waves, the cold water and your own clothes make it virtually impossible to put on a life-jacket once in the water.
They’re urging the federal government to make it mandatory for all boaters to wear a life-jacket.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Rob Lurie