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Lockstation staff, public credited with helping distressed boaters caught in Hastings, Ont. dam

The dam in Hastings, Ont. Mark Giunta/Global News

Six people are lucky to have escaped fairly unscathed after their boat nearly went through the dam in Hastings, Ont., on Sunday.

In response to an inquiry about the situation by Global News Peterborough, Parks Canada stated the 20-foot pleasure craft was circling the area at Lock 18 between the grey wall and marina, upstream of the dam, looking for mooring spots when its engine lost power.

READ MORE: Fishing boat helps rescue sailors stranded in Ottawa River rapids

“The vessel owner was unable to restart the engine,” Parks Canada stated. “Currents began to pull the vessel towards the cable 100 metres in front of the dam.”

Parks Canada credits its lockmaster with recognizing the danger and shutting down lockage and bridge operations and calling 911.

“Several other boaters in the immediate area were on hand to lend assistance, but the vessel slid under the safety cable due to the current. First responders were on scene in 3.5 minutes,” Parks Canada stated.

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“The vessel had been pulled into the dam’s fourth sluice by then, where it became trapped. The Lockstation Team and a member of the public were able to assist the six people on board to disembark the vessel.”

By the time that had happened, police, fire and ambulance were there to help.

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“We did attend.  All occupants were onshore when we arrived,” said Trent Hills fire chief Tim Blake in a text message to Global News Peterborough. “We treated two patients with minor injuries.”

Arrangements were made by lockstation staff and the owner of the vessel to recover the boat from the dam.

“Parks Canada would like to thank the public and local EMS for their assistance with this incident.  Parks Canada would also like to remind all boaters and land-based users to exercise extreme caution and to be extra vigilant around dam structures.”

“The recent three weeks of rain events have increased water levels and flows throughout the lakes and rivers of the Trent-Severn Waterway,” Parks Canada stated.

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