RCMP in Saskatchewan are sending out a firm warning about open water safety following two drownings and a third suspected drowning in just a couple of weeks.
“Waters can look calm and be dangerous at the same time. Be aware of the currents when swimming this summer in lakes and rivers,” read a news release.
The RCMP encouraged those who are wanting to swim to ask local residents about the location of the strong currents and to avoid those areas.
La Ronge RCMP responded to the disappearance of a six-year-old boy at about 3 p.m. last Friday. The boy had been swimming in Sucker River when strong currents, where the river enters the mouth of Lac La Ronge, swept him away from his group.
Several organizations and individual community members assisted with the search.
Search efforts ended when the underwater ROV of the Grandmother’s Bay Recovery Team located the boy’s body. His next of kin has been notified and his family has met with Victim Services.
The search is ongoing to locate a different six-year-old boy in Makwa Lake.
Loon Lake RCMP responded to the report of the disappearance at about 7 p.m. on June 23. The boy had been playing on a sandbar on the southeast end of Makwa Lake, near Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation.
Local residents and organizations have been collaborating to search for the boy on the ground, on the lake and in the air.
In the third incident, an 18-year-old man from Lashburn died after drowning in Battle River.
On Saturday, at about 8:30 p.m., Maidstone RCMP responded to the report of the man, who was on a tube, being swept away when a storm rolled in.
The Saskatchewan RCMP Underwater Recovery Team has located his body. The man’s next of kin has been notified of his death and his family has met with Victim Services.
The RCMP directed the public to the Canadian Red Cross for safety tips on swimming in open water and what to do if you get caught in a current.
This includes checking the weather before you head out, swimming with another person and wearing a lifejacket.
The Canadian Red Cross said if you get caught in a river current or fast moving water, roll onto your back and go downstream feet-first. This avoids your head hitting any objects in the water.
When you are out of the strongest part of the current, swim towards the shore.
If your boat has overturned, hang on to the upstream end of the boat.