Another swimmer at risk on the river

A woman is not thankful for the help she received from a Destiny River Adventures rafting tour on the Campbell River on Sunday afternoon

A woman is not thankful for the help she received from a Destiny River Adventures rafting tour on the Campbell River on Sunday afternoon.

Jamie Turko, trip leader for the rafting tour, and swiftwater specialist with Campbell River Search and Rescue (CRSAR), helped a woman who was separated from her dinghy.

But she was unhappy with the way she was helped and complained to the CRSAR.

“I actually went out of my way and helped somebody and now she turned around and basically attacked me,” said Turko.

Turko was preparing his group for the trip at John Hart generating station, when two women walked by with a small two person rubber dinghy, one PFD, a pump, and no paddles.

When they finished pumping the dinghy, one woman walked back to their vehicle with the pump.

Turko finished the safety talk for the tour and the group started down the river.

About 15-20 minutes later, and about 600 meters down from the John Hart generating station, the tour group came upon the dinghy upside down and stuck on a small tree. Turko imagined the worst.

“I thought this was going to be a body recovery,” said Turko.

They then spotted the woman about 100 meters downstream, standing about 20 feet out from the river bank on a fallen tree.

Turko had a passenger grab hold of the dinghy and they went downstream to the woman. She was wearing a PFD, but according to Turko, it was ill fitting.

Turko asked if she was injured, to which he said she replied “no, I am okay.”

She wanted the tour to let her in their raft and take her down to Maple Street. Turko said no and told her to walk downriver via the Canyon View Trail, which they were adjacent to.

He cited insurance liabilities, having clients on the raft, and that he had made sure she was safe as his reasons for not letting her on board.

Supporting herself between her dinghy and the tour raft, the woman safely got to land, but was upset, stating “you’re not just going to leave me,” according to Turko.

Turko admits to lecturing her on river safety and giving her “a piece of [his] mind.”

He waited until she was up onto the trail before resuming the rafting tour.

During June Turko contacted the Mirror to warn the public about safety on the river.

Just two days later six youths had a close call with death when their inner tubes got caught in a fallen tree about 300 meters up river from where the woman got separated from her dinghy.

“This is not the first [incident] and it won’t be the last,” said Turko.

He warns river goers, yet again, of the dangers of fast moving water, and that the river has control.

Although the woman on the dinghy was upset with the way he handled it, Turko said he wouldn’t change what he did.

“If I see her on the river today, I will do the exact same thing,” said Turko.

 

 

 

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