One person dead after boat capsizes on Wabamun Lake

Wabamun Lake Provincial Park. Global News

A 56-year-old man from Parkland County died after a boat capsized on Wabamun Lake, west of Edmonton, Saturday afternoon. RCMP believe the man was involved in a training exercise with a local volunteer group.

Two separate witnesses describe the sudden arrival of emergency services and RCMP.

“All of a sudden you could see fire rescue, RCMP everything like that show up and there was word there was an unattended boat on the lake,” recalled beachgoer Ashley Sayer.

“When we got back down to the dock here, they were performing CPR on someone they pulled out of the water and loaded him in the ambulance,” said Jeff Ellsworth, who arrived at the lake just as everything started to happen.

Beachgoers at Wabamun Lake, Saturday, July 16, 2022. Global News

“Families were leaving the beach cleared out pretty quickly – but this happens sadly,” Ellsworth said.

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“The ones that knew about it were just kind of lined up in shock. The other ones didn’t know what was going on.”

Police continue to investigate, but do not believe the death is suspicious.

Alberta’s Underwater Search Team was not involved in the Wabamun rescue, but spoke to Global News and said they haven’t received as many calls.

The volunteer team offered context and advice for those heading to swim these season.

Read more: RCMP recover both missing men from capsized boat on Spray Lakes, Alta.

“Alberta water is cold and people panic in the water. People are drinking in the water. And people think that it’s a playground but you need to have your swimming lessons,” he said.

“It can happen within seconds. Unfortunately, with cold water sometimes your body will go into shock and you might have a cardiac arrest. Sometimes there is unfortunately no hope – with a life jacket at least you can stay afloat,” said Jevne, adding that wearing a life jacket is “the number one key” for water safety.

Jevne advised brushing up on water safety and staying clear of alcohol while out on a boat.

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Underwater rescue is a dangerous and difficult job — the very limited visibility underwater makes it difficult to find someone underwater. The team does have technology to assist in their searches, including sonar and remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROV).

Read more: Albertans being reminded of basic water safety measures amid recent deaths







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