BC Coroners service investigating 8 drownings urges caution around rivers, lakes

VICTORIA – The BC Coroners Service is urging people to be extra cautious around water-related activities as it investigates eight recent drownings.

The youngest victim to drown was a 12-year-old girl, whose body was recovered this week from Skaha Lake after a sandbar she was standing on gave way.

The coroners service says high runoff from the winter’s snowpack and heavy rains since then have left many rivers, streams and lakes running much faster and with higher-than-usual water levels.

Chief coroner Lisa LaPointe says that means activities such as rafting, canoeing and tubing are now much riskier.

She says visitors to B.C. may not realize that local waters are likely to be more hazardous compared to elsewhere in Canada or even the world and that the water is often colder and lakes have steep drop-offs.

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Chris Duffy, executive director for Emergency Management BC, says water levels and flow rates in the Interior have been the highest he’s ever seen them.

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