Windsor

Non-profit rescue organization saves five from Lake Erie

When five people were stranded on Lake Erie, it was volunteers in the Colchester Guardian Rescue boat who were first to respond.

The five people had floated about six kilometres from shore

When five people were stranded on Lake Erie, it was volunteers from Colchester Guardian Rescue who were first to respond. (Colchester Guardian Rescue/Facebook)

When five people were stranded on Lake Erie, it was volunteers on the Colchester Guardian Rescue boat who were first to respond.

On Monday, an inflatable raft had floated about six kilometres from shore and the people on board were screaming for help. 

As the coast guard mobilized everything they could, one of the vessels able to respond to the call was the Colchester Guardian. 

"One person was found unconscious," said Chris Armour, regional supervisor of maritime search and rescue with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Ont.

The person found unconscious was alert by the time the Guardian reached shore with the boaters. 

"They were screaming ... they were actually heard from the location the [Guardian] deployed from."

According to the Guardian, none of the people on board were wearing life jackets and three members of the group couldn't swim. 

Armour said auxillary vessels like the Guardian are a strong partner and make a huge difference in the safety of people using the lake. 

"When we require them, they respond for us," said Armour. "From May to November we call on [auxillary vessels] pretty much every day."

The Colchester group has been around since 2012 and has saved 18 lives. Volunteers buy their own safety equipment and donations support their operating costs.

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