South Slocan resident saves elderly Glade fisherman from drowning
Local RCMP are hailing a South Slocan resident as a hero after saving an elderly man from drowning in the Slocan Pools area of the Kootenay River near Shoreacres Tuesday (June 10) morning.
Chris O’Gorman was in the right place at the right time to save the 84-year-old Glade resident after the boat he was fishing in sank after taking on water.
“The RCMP would like to thank Mr. O’Gorman for his heroic rescue,” RCMP Sargent Darryl Little said in a media release.
“In this case the life jacket and the timely arrival of Mr. O’Gorman prevented a potential tragedy today on Kootenay River,” Little added.
Little said Nelson RCMP were alerted at approximately 11 a.m. to an overturned 12-foot aluminum boat drifting in the Slocan Pools below the BC Hydro Kootenay Canal dam near Shoreacres.
At the time of the report no one was seen near the drifting boat.
Nelson Search and Rescue, Beasley Fire Department and Crescent Valley Fire Department were immediately dispatched to the location of the boat.
However, within a few minutes of rescue crews being deployed, Nelson RCMP received another call from a local South Slocan resident, Chris O’Gorman who advised he had pulled an elderly man from the river minutes earlier.
“The 84-year-old Glade resident was out fishing in the Slocan Pools when he discovered his boat was filling with water. Before he could bail out the boat it overturned,” Sgt. Little explained.
Sgt. Little said the man who was wearing a life jacket, was able to hold on to the overturned boat and call for help.
O’Gorman, out walking his dog when he heard the calls, saw the overturned boat and raced to the distressed man by paddling his canoe out into the river using a stick he found on the shore as make-shift paddle.
O’Gorman was able to reach the Glade resident and pull him in to shore before the man succumbed to the cold water.
“The elderly male was cold but otherwise un-injured,” Sgt. Little said.
Sgt. Little said an RCMP Constable was able to speak later with the Glade resident who advised before O’Gorman arrived he was starting to feel that he would not be able to hold on anymore as his hands were getting too cold.
However, before letting go of the boat, the Glade fisherman saw O’Gorman coming to his rescue.
“(This) is another reminder of the importance in always wearing a life jacket while boating or using any other type of water craft,” Sgt. Little said.
“In addition make sure to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.”