The body of a Manitoba man who drowned in Okanagan Lake days earlier was recovered Tuesday 38 metres offshore.
The man’s family have since been notified and are receiving supports through the RCMP Victim Service. He has not been identified.
Const. Mike Della-Paolera said the man was in the area with friends and had rented a pontoon boat. At around 5 p.m. Aug. 26 in the McKinley Landing area, a woman on the boat went into the water and was having a hard getting back aboard. He jumped in to help her and, after the assist, didn’t emerge.
“Unfortunately the Central Okanagan has had several drowning deaths this summer which shock and sadden all of us. Our hearts go out to the families who have lost their loved ones” Const. Della-Paolera said in a press release.
“Two-thirds of drowning victims know how to swim. Accidents can happen anytime, and they can happen to you,” Della Paolera said. “Be prepared, be aware, and keep your PFD on at all times whenever you are on the water.”
According the Lifesaving Society of B.C. and Yukon, 23 people have drowned across the province so far this year. Almost half of the deaths, 10, occurred in the Okanagan-Thompson region. Five drownings happened in Okanagan Lake.
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“That’s a very high number for the Okanagan itself,” the society’s executive director Dale Miller said in an interview earlier this month. “The Okanagan is full of lakes of course, and everybody loves to head there for holidays … so certainly there is a much higher propensity for drownings in the Okanagan — quite unusual this year, though.”
Miller said there are many close calls, however, that they never hear about that could have easily turned into drownings. He also said fewer drownings would happen if more people wore life jackets while boating.