Huron County, ON - With the arrival of above average temperatures and sunny skies
this past weekend many Huron County residents and visitors found their way outdoors
and engaged in some of their favourite outdoor pursuits. Enjoying your favourite
outdoor activity is certainly encouraged but doing it in a safe and responsible
manner can mean the difference between a great day spent outdoors or a day marred
by injury or death. Huron County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to remind
the public to ALWAYS THINK SAFETY FIRST following a weekend that turned deadly
on Huron's waterways and roadways.
Two canoeing incidents occurred over the weekend.
The first incident occurred on Friday evening when a 23-year-old male lost his life
while canoeing down the Nine Mile River. His canoe overturned when it struck a deadfall
and he ultimately drowned to death. The male was not wearing a life jacket or a
personal floatation device.
The second canoeing incident occurred Saturday evening on the Maitland River. Two
intoxicated males in their early 20's were paddling down the fast flowing river
when they also hit a deadfall in the water and overturned their canoe. Fortunately,
the males were wearing personal floatation devices (PFD) and they stayed afloat
in the water. The males spent about approximately an hour in the cold water before
they made it to shore. Their screams for help were heard by a resident that lives
on Maitland Block Road and a 9-1-1 call was made. The canoers were eventually located
and successfully rescued around 7:30 p.m. Both males were completely underdressed
and unprepared for the water conditions. They were transported to hospital and were
treated for hypothermia.
Cold waters are dangerous and it is especially important to wear a PFD during cold
water seasons - it can make an unexpected mishap survivable. Make sure you are well-dressed
and consider taking a few extra warming items on board. Hypothermia is a particularly
significant risk right now. Boaters and those working and playing near the water
need to remember - the colder the water, the less rescue time there is! Before heading
out, it is essential to do a thorough check of your vessel to ensure you have all
your required and recommended safety eq uipment.
A pair of incidents involving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) also occurred in Huron
County over the weekend, both incidents involved operators that failed to think
safety first. On Sunday, April 9th, shortly before 5:00 p.m. police learned of a
collision involving a side-by-side utility vehicle (UTV). Officers learned the driver
was travelling along the shoulder of Maitland Block Road when the rear cargo bucket
released and three young passengers fell out onto the ground. The three young ladies,
all in their early 20's, sustained non-life threatening injuries. Neither the driver,
nor his four passengers were wearing helmets.
Just over an hour later on Hern Line in South Huron officers responded to a call
of an overturned ATV down in the deep ditch. Upon arrival police located a 42-year-old
male that had sustained minor injuries. The male was we aring a helmet at the time
of the crash however he had been drinking alcohol.
"Unfortunately we still see too many young people engaging in risky and dangerous
behaviour. Whether it is failing to wear the required safety equipment or making
the decision to operate a vehicle or vessel after consuming alcohol, these are risks
that are unnecessary. The events of this past weekend should be a reminder to everyone
that sometimes unnecessary risks can lead to life-changing or fatal events. Please
adopt a safety conscious mindset and always think about your safety first." - Huron
OPP Detachment Commander Inspector Jason YOUNAN
Learn More on Marine Safety
PFD or Lifejacket?
What is Cold Water Immersion?
Learn More on Off-Road Vehicle Safety
ATVs and Alcohol - Is It Really Worth It?
Getting Started - Tips for Young ATV Riders
Keep it Legal - Keep it Safe!
Handling Your ATV Safely