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High levels of South Saskatchewan River raises safety concerns

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WATCH: The South Saskatchewan River has been dangerously high, leading to a water rescue over the weekend – Jul 6, 2020

The Saskatoon Fire Department is urging the public to stay off the South Saskatchewan River while water levels are dangerously high.

Read more: Cabin owners in Meeting Lake, Sask., frustrated by constant flooding

“Due to the currents that come with that, entering into the water can be quite dangerous or treacherous,” assistant Chief Wayne Rodger said.

On Sunday evening, four females on two inflatable watercrafts were rescued by a pier near the Gordie Howe Bridge. Two rescue units rescued the group, and one patron was seen in the water.

“Upon getting closer, one of our firefighters who’s a surface water technician observed somebody in distress so that firefighter entered the water,” Rodger said.

The firefighter brought her to safety, and then went back for the others. All were distressed and fatigued but appeared to have no other injuries.

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Read more: 3 tornadoes touch down in southern Saskatchewan

It isn’t the highest the river has been, but it is higher than usual. It’s important to be cautious, even if you’re just walking along the Meewasin trail.

“An area you might be familiar with, an area you think is safe for wading for a little kid to run around in, for example, might have a steep drop off into deeper water with really fast-moving current,” Meewasin Valley Authority manager of planning and conservation Mike Velonas said.

Velonas adds levels might continue to rise, but he doesn’t expect any flooding to occur.

If you decide to be on the water, using a watercraft that can maneuver unstable conditions is imperative. On Sunday, it wasn’t a fit watercraft and patrons weren’t wearing lifejackets.

“The outcome could’ve been a lot worse had we not got there in time,” Rodger said.

Read more: Massive storm hits Saskatchewan hamlet

Updates on water levels can be found on the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency website.

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