3 people drowned in Manitoba waterways Friday, RCMP say

There were three drownings in Manitoba on Friday: a teenager went under while swimming at Lake Manitoba, a man couldn't get back to shore while swimming in Reynolds Pond and another slipped and fell into the Whitemouth River.

Teen died near Portage la Prairie, man fell into Whitemouth River, Steinbach swimmer went under

RCMP released information about three separate drownings in Manitoba on Friday. (CBC)

There were three drownings in Manitoba on Friday: a teenager went under while swimming in Lake Manitoba, a man out with his family slipped and fell into the Whitemouth River and another man didn't make it back to shore from a swim in Reynolds Pond, RCMP said in three separate news releases Monday.

RCMP were called to Lake Manitoba near the Portage Diversion around 7:10 p.m. Friday after a 17-year-old went under while swimming.

Police believe he was swimming with friends and had entered the water from Delta Beach. 

He slipped off a sandbar into deeper water, was pulled east by the current and went under.

The teen's friends got him to shore, and a bystander did CPR until paramedics arrived.

When police arrived, the teen was unconscious and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Man slips into river

In another drowning, a 39-year-old man from Winnipeg was with his family when he slipped on the rocks and fell into the Whitemouth River in eastern Manitoba, RCMP said.

Mounties were called to the river at the Elma Bridge crossing, about 90 kilometres east of Winnipeg, at about 3:30 p.m.

People tried to get the man out when he fell in the water, and a bystander launched a canoe and got him to shore.

When police arrived, CPR was being done on the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Swimmer goes under

Finally, a 24-year-old man who was swimming with two friends at Reynolds Pond, near Richer, Man., went under and never resurfaced after he tried to swim out to an island.

RCMP were called at about 7 p.m. and were told that the man was swimming with two friends and tried to swim to a small island about 100 yards from shore but turned back. He went under the water on his way back and never resurfaced.

Boaters who were in the area began searching and police joined them, but the man wasn't found.

The next day, the RCMP underwater recovery team went looking for the 24-year-old with an underwater remote-operated vehicle, and the man was found dead.

Be careful about currents

Hundreds of people flocked to Grand Beach on Saturday to beat the heat. The Red Cross says there are swimming risks everywhere and 'drowning does not discriminate.' (Marouane Refak/Radio-Canada)

The Canadian Red Cross says people should be aware of the risks when they swim or boat in Manitoba.

"Often we know or are slightly familiar with an area, but we aren't truly informed of the hazards. Those can be hidden below the surface of the water, whether it's currents, temperature, debris. It's really important to take time to look into what you're dealing with," said Lynn Kolba, the Red Cross's swimming and water safety representative for Manitoba, northern Ontario and Nunavut.

Sometimes people downplay those risks in the Prairies, she says.

"People associate currents with the ocean and rip tides, and we sometimes forget that we have serious undertows in Manitoba, not just in rivers and streams and creeks, but in our lakes," Kolba said.

Other times people downplay the risks because they feel they're strong swimmers, she said.

"Drowning does not discriminate."

For more information about preventing drownings and ensuring children are safe around bodies of water, visit the Red Cross website.

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With files from Cory Funk