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Toddler’s drowning averted at Okanagan Lake, off-duty Mountie credited

FILE. Okanagan Lake. Courtesy: Andrew Stark

A young family was taking a break on an Okanagan beach this weekend when they narrowly averted tragedy, RCMP say.

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It was around 2 p.m. Saturday when a couple’s two-year-old child misstepped when walking along a Naramata beach dock and fell into the water.

“The child was having great difficulty staying afloat in the extremely cold water,” RCMP said in a press release.

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“One of the guardians jumped into the water, but was also having great difficulty fighting the strong current and low temperature.”

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A Penticton RCMP officer who was off-duty at the time, and happened to be nearby, overheard their calls for help and jumped into action.

“The officer, who’s trained in specialty life-saving techniques, immediately took action by jumping into the lake. The officer was able to bring the two-year-old child safely back to shore. The guardian who had jumped in was able to swim back to shore on their own,” Const. James Grandy said in a press release.

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Cold water days can be dangerous for lake goers. The shock value, causing people to take a deep breath in water, is an instant drowning.

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Penticton is reminding residents and visitors that the water can be cold, and some parts can have strong currents. It is especially important to be aware of young children playing near the shore and not leave them unsupervised.

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