Hamilton

Police rescue trio who floated into Lake Ontario on big pink flamingo

Police say three adults spent four hours floating in the water before dropping temperatures and a few large ships passing nearby led them to call 911 and ask for help.

It was a 'very unique rescue,' says Const. Lorraine Edwards

Police rescued three people from this inflatable pink flamingo early Wednesday morning after it floated about four kilometres into Lake Ontario. (Hamilton Police Service)

Hamilton police made a "very unique rescue" early Wednesday morning after a big pink flamingo with three people aboard drifted into Lake Ontario.

Three adults, who the service described as a family, launched the pool float from Pier 4 around 10 p.m.

They had oars and an air horn, but no life jackets, according to police. That became a problem when the flamingo ended up out in the lake and its passengers weren't able to paddle back to shore.

Police say trio spent four hours floating in the water before dropping temperatures and a few large ships passing nearby led them to call 911 around 2 a.m. and ask for help.

Officers found them about four kilometres from land and brought them safely back to shore. No medical treatment was necessary.

Const. Lorraine Edwards described the incident as a "very unique rescue."

Now police are warning other would-be adventurers considering using a floatie meant for a backyard pool or cottage to make a big-water voyage.

"These devices people use are recreational, fun, relaxing … unfortunately they're just not made for these large bodies of water unless we have some sort of measures in place to keep them where they're at," said Edwards.

A photo of the flamingo shared by police shows it appears to be almost as large as a cruiser. However, Edwards said even floats that size can be unpredictable, so life jackets should always be worn.

"The current can take you and, with the blink of an eye, all of a sudden you're in trouble."

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