Five kayakers have been rescued after capsizing on the Elk River and becoming stranded on a gravel bar.
On July 11 at approximately 12:45 p.m., Elk Valley RCMP received a call from a fly fisherman who was on the Elk River near Fernie. He advised that he had retrieved three kayaks and two paddles that had drifted near him, however he initially did not see anyone in the area.
He called back not long after saying he had walked approximately 1 km upstream and located five people stranded on a gravel bar; two adults and three children.
RCMP advised Fernie Search and Rescue who responded within the hour and conducted a successful helicopter long line rescue of all five kayakers.
Further investigation by RCMP determined that one of the kayakers had overturned their kayak in the strong current, causing the remainder of the group to come to their aid and resulted with all five individuals ending up in the water.
“Fortunately, all five kayakers were wearing life-jackets which definitely contributed to the positive outcome of this incident,” said RCMP Sgt. Trevor Tribes in a press release.
Fernie Search and Rescue commented that in this instance the kayakers did the right thing by remaining on the gravel bar and waiting for help, as opposed to attempting to cross the swift moving water.