Video shows emergency responders pulling man from Glenmore Reservoir
'Don't take the water lightly,' firefighters warn as water rescue season begins
Water rescue season got off to a dramatic start in southwest Calgary on Friday when emergency responders swam through the waters of the Glenmore Reservoir to pull a man to safety.
Firefighters were captured on camera making their way through treed areas toward the reservoir before swimming to reach the man. They eventually managed to lift him into a waiting aquatic rescue boat.
According to Innes Fraser, the district chief of fire rescue services, the department got the call that the man was in the reservoir around 9 a.m.
He said the victim was approximately 150 to 200 metres off shore, in freezing water and near death, when responders arrived.
It's unclear how, or why, the man got into the water.
"Initial divers made contact with the person who, at this point, was near drowning — they were going down," Fraser said.
"[The firefighters got] them so they were at least staying afloat and keeping air in their lungs."
'You go to autopilot'
After firefighters in the water made contact with the victim, the boat arrived on scene, Fraser said. Rescuers were able to load the patient onto it before getting him to an ambulance.
Adam Drougge, one of the firefighters who swam to the victim, said the plan for a rescue like this is set by the team lead and then executed.
"You just go to autopilot and do the job you're supposed to do," Drougge said.
He swam with equipment behind colleague Kyle Blondeau, who said the man dipped below the water a few times, but they maintained contact with him until he could be lifted to safety.
Ruben Marsden, who was in the boat, said his vantage point allowed the firefighters to cover all angles, and prevented emergency crews from having to swim back to shore with the victim.
'Don't take the water lightly'
There were 12 possible and confirmed drownings in Alberta between last summer.
"Don't take the water lightly," Blondeau said. "Just make sure that you have the right stuff and you know what you're doing."
They also agreed the actions at the reservoir were simply what they were trained to do — though Fraser was more effusive.
"They are very well trained, very good at what they do," Fraser said.
"Firefighters will put their lives on the line for people they don't even know, and that happened again with this water rescue. So I'm incredibly proud of them."
With files from Mike Symington