Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

&laquo ; Ice can be deceptive», rescue society warns after drownings

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About a third of drownings in Canada occur between October and May because of thin ice and frigid water, according to Stephanie Bakalar, communications manager at the Lifesaving Society.

Radio-Canada

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New warnings about the dangers of venturing on thin ice or near bodies of water have been renewed after several people recently drowned in lakes and rivers across the country.

Four teenagers fell into the Rideau River in south Ottawa while skating on Wednesday evening. Two of them were able to be pulled out and taken to hospital for treatment, but the bodies of the other two were recovered by divers.

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Members of the Ottawa police underwater search team placed an unmanned search and rescue vehicle in the Rideau River on Thursday.

This tragedy follows the death of an Alberta family who was found drowned the day after Christmas in Lake Sainte-Anne after leaving the road. The same day, a man died falling through the ice on the Bow River, west of Calgary.

In Quebec, a four-year-old girl fell into the Mistassibi River while she was sledding with her mother last Friday. His body has not yet been found.

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A week after the tragedy, the body of the little girl who sank into the Mistassibi River in Dolbeau-Mistassini remains untraceable.

Ice can be very deceptive… People look at it and think it's solid when it's not, said Stephanie Bakalar, communications manager at the Lifesaving Society. p>LoadingIsraeli bombings in Gaza most destructive in century, experts say

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She said about a third of drownings in Canada occur between October and May because of thin ice and frigid water. Temperature fluctuations are also particularly dangerous.

Maybe; to your eyes it looks frozen, but underneath it probably isn't. As temperatures rise and fall, [the ice] freezes, melts and refreezes […] It's very dangerous.

A quote from Stephanie Bakalar, communications manager at the Lifesaving Society

Ms. Bakalar says people should measure the thickness of the ice at using an auger, a device that allows you to drill and take a sample of ice.

The ice must be at least 10 centimeters thick to support the weight of one person and must be thicker if there are more people, explains the communications manager at the Lifesaving Society.

If you drive a car on ice, the thickness of the ice should be at least 20 to 30 centimeters.

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A sign warning of thin ice near a stream in Regina, Saskatchewan. (File photo)

If you fall in the water, Ms. Bakalar recommends trying to get back on the ice on the stomach or get into a huddled position: lying on your back, arms wrapped around your knees, head above water, while calling for help.

If someone else falls into the water, she advises not to go to that person in order to try to save them. The manager suggests instead trying to throw her an object that floats or that she can cling to.

D' after a text by Kimberley Molina, from CBC

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