Saskatchewan

Eyewitness recalls arm 'hanging by a thread' in boating accident

The swimmer injured in a recent boating accident on Echo Lake has had his arm amputated.

RCMP said drinking was a factor in boating accident on Echo Lake

The accident took place around 11 p.m. on Echo Lake. (CBC)

The swimmer injured in a recent boating accident on Echo Lake has had his arm amputated.

The accident happened Monday around 11 p.m. CST when a pontoon boat encountered a swimmer.

The swimmer injured in a boating accident on Echo Lake had part of his arm amputated. (Joe Reidy/Facebook)

The injured man, identified as Joe Reidy, 21, was hurt by the boat's propeller.

In a posting to social media, Reidy said he was doing well after surgery to amputate a portion of his right arm.

His friend Rylee Paik, was with him in the water when the accident happened.

It was dark and she located him by observing the light from his phone.

"I saw his flashlight on his cellphone on, in the water, and that's how I found him," Paik said. "I pulled him up, and when I grabbed his arm, I thought it was seaweed. But it was his arm that was just hanging by a thread."

RCMP said alcohol was a factor, for the boater and the swimmer.

According to statistics, in boating accidents in Saskatchewan alcohol is a factor 60 per cent of the time. When the people involved are between the ages of 15 to 34, that figure jumps up to 72 per cent.

There are rules and regulations that govern the operation of all watercraft on Canadian lakes and rivers. One dealer said pontoon vessels have their own specific challenges.

"A pontoon boat, because they're bigger than a normal boat is, you'll probably have a little harder time seeing a little more in front of you," Bruce Hollerbaum, from Kevin's Marine, said.

RCMP are continuing their investigation.

With files from CBC's Adrian Cheung and Samanda Brace

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