Infant, toddler among 10 pulled from Ghost Lake Reservoir after boat capsizes

Ten people were rescued from Ghost Lake west of Calgary Saturday night after spending more than an hour in the cold water when their boat capsized.

A police officer revived a teenager pulled from the water unresponsive, RCMP say

Keith Crone was on the new boat launch Saturday night when he met a police officer trying to rescue 10 people. Crone took the officer out onto the water in his own boat. (Keith Crone)

Ten people were rescued from Ghost Lake west of Calgary Saturday night after spending more than an hour in the cold water when their boat capsized.

RCMP were called at about 9:45 p.m. for a boat that was sinking in the lake.

Everyone on board ended up in the reservoir, including a baby, a toddler and a 15-year-old girl, who was unresponsive.

When police arrived to the boat launch, Keith Crone happened to be there with some friends from work. They had been looking for a set of keys accidentally dropped off the wharf, and once the officer said what happened, they turned their attention to help.

Crone said he took the officer out in his boat to find the people in the water.

"Knowing the lake a little bit, I figured the first place to head out was down the lake toward a reef I knew existed, and sure enough, that's where trouble was," he said. "They had probably been in the water close to an hour by the time we arrived, so they were happy to see us."

Crone said he suspects the submerged boat hit the reef.

The oldest member of the group was holding the infant when they arrived, he said.

"He was so cold and so stiff he couldn't even pass the child over," he said. "We kind of had to pull the child off of him."

Crone said the people in the water were wearing life jackets when rescuers arrived.

Cochrane RCMP called Crone a Good Samaritan on Sunday.

"If they had not helped us out, we would not have gotten to the distressed people as fast as we had," Cochrane RCMP spokesperson Const. Jennifer Brewer said Sunday.

All 10 people were rescued, but the teenage girl had to be revived on the water by the RCMP officer using chest compressions.

The group may have spent 60 to 90 minutes in the water before being rescued, Stuart Brideaux with Calgary's Emergency Medical Services said Sunday.

Five taken to hospital

Five of the boaters were taken to Alberta Children's Hospital, including the girl, a school-aged boy, a toddler, an infant and an adult for supervision, he said. They were considered to be in stable, non-life threatening condition.

The other five adults were treated on scene for mild exposure and hypothermia and released.

The rescue required many first responders from southern Alberta, Brideaux said. EMS units from Nakota, Cochrane, Banff, Kananakis and Canmore attended, plus there was supervisory support from the city. RCMP, Cochrane fire rescue and conservation officers were also involved.

Ghost Lake Reservoir is popular for boaters. This weekend, a boat capsized, sending 10 people, including four minors, into the water. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

Three boats were needed to move the group to shore, Brideaux said.

The new boat launch opened at Ghost Lake last week, opening boating season for the Ghost Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area.

Crone called the reef, "treacherous."

"It should be marked, there should be signs, there should be warnings," he said.

"There's hidden obstacles, there's floating logs, there's debris ... Even knowing where it was, we got up on it last night and had to paddle off ... before we could put the motor back in the water. It's one of those treacherous reefs that sits just below the surface."

The man-made reservoir is less than an hour's drive west of Calgary, and is a popular destination for campers and boaters. There are roughly 100 property owners in the Summer Village of Ghost Lake.


With files from Terri Trembath