Skip to content

Family rescued from Puntledge River after trying to float during high flows

B.C. Hydro is advising people not to float on the river right now because it’s releasing water.

Search-and-rescue crews in the Comox Valley brought a family to safety after they tried to float on the Puntledge River.

A father and his two daughters, 8 and 11, became stranded on an island in the river around 7 p.m. on Thursday after they tried to float down the river on an inflatable inner tube, said Rich Swanson, swift-water team leader for Comox Valley Search and Rescue.

The inner tube burst and they three ended up in the cold river, which was flowing about four times as much as normal because B.C. Hydro was releasing water, Swanson said. They made it to an island about a minute downstream from where they entered the river, where they could wait safely for help, he said.

Search and rescue crews paddled to the island with a rescue sled to bring the family back to shore. The children were cold but otherwise in good condition, and the father had a few cuts, Swanson said.

B.C. Hydro had installed signs warning visitors that the river flow would be “very high and dangerous,” and advised people to keep out and stay back from the river bank.

“This is not the time to be on the river,” Swanson said. “Even though it’s hot right now and looks inviting, it is very fast and it’s very cold.”

Floating on the river is a common summer activity, when water flow is much slower and the water is warmer, Swanson said.

[email protected]

>>> To comment on this article, write a letter to the editor: [email protected]