Comox Valley Search and Rescue spent most of a whole morning looking for no one, as it turned out.
They scoured the shores of the Puntledge River for signs that someone might have gone into the river after an abandoned, overturned watercraft was seen.
The initial report to the police, says CVSAR president and manager Paul Berry, was of canoe tied to a log. CVSAR arrived to start looking along the river at about 7:30 a.m. on Monday, June 14, and worked at the scene for about four hours.
Berry said the first thing to check was whether the craft, which turned out to be a kayak, was tied to a log. In this case, it was not.
“It was just stuck in the back eddy, in behind the tennis courts at Lewis Park,” he said.
Swift-water technicians looked for signs that someone might have gone in the river, starting at the Condensory Bridge and working downstream toward the estuary on both sides of the bank, but there was no sign of anyone associated with the kayak.
“The river was so high that morning, you had to check all of the branches and everything that are hanging into the waters, to make sure nothing or no one is hung up there,” he said. “Nothing was found.”
In all, 15 members took part in the search effort, using two kayaks and two powerboats in the process. Local firefighters were also called in to assist initially.
CVSAR asks the public to call the non-emergency number for the RCMP anytime they have to abandon a watercraft.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a canoe, a kayak or an inner tube,” Berry said. “Just let officials know, so that we don’t call out rescue resources.”
Such cases do not happen a lot, but CVSAR expects a case every so often, and if there is any cause for concern, they have to check out the situation.
“Every year, there’s at least one,” Berry added. “You always have to check, and do our due diligence to make sure that everyone is safe.”
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