The scene at Chocolate Lake on the Friday before the Natal Day Long Weekend is as one would expect – full of beach goers, sun worshippers and families gravitating toward the water. It stands in stark opposition to the frightening scene that played out at the lake the day before when fast-acting lifeguards were called on to rescue a swimmer from a near-drowning.
Lifeguard Meriel Fitzgerald had just finished her shift and packing up to go home, when a panicked yell from the water got her attention.
“Just after 5 o’clock we got a call from people saying that their friend had went under and he was missing, so we all ran in the water and started doing dive searches and looked around,” she tells Global News.
Fitzgerald and the other off-duty life guards found the man, pulled him to shore and preformed CPR. The man was taken to hospital in serious condition.
It was the first incident of this nature to happen at Chocolate Lake this season and is a harsh reminder that drowning’s can happen anywhere.
With the long weekend here, life guards are reminding people to be safe in and around the water.
“We suggest clearly, to swim when it’s supervised, while the lifeguards are here,” says Fitzgerald.
Amir Farrag has been a lifeguard for the past two years. He says a supervised beach is not without risk, adding precautions should always be taken, especially when it comes to younger swimmers.
“If you have a kid eight years old or younger, then we really want to have a parent in the water with them at all times. Swimming unsupervised, even with a lifeguard on duty is always going to be a risk, even with a strong swimmer,” he says.
Farrag says swimmers should never go in the water alone and always swim within their limits.
“Every time there’s a weak swimmer in the water, it’s an incident waiting to happen. Out on the chair when we’re out there, we always have to be constantly scanning, keeping tabs on each and every swimmer that’s weak in the water,” said Farrag.
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