Three separate water fatalities in northeast show explicit need for the use of lifejackets
The Ontario Provincial Police say lifejackets save lives. Three people in the northeast region lost their lives on the water over the Civic Holiday weekend, and none of them were wearing lifejackets.
"Our message is for people to wear your lifejacket, and not having it nearby, if you do capsize or fall in the water, that lifejacket left behind will be no good to you," said Const. Michelle Coulombe of the Ontario Provincial Police.
CTV news has learned the victim of a drowning on Halfway Lake on Sunday 23-year-old Rishabh Shah was an international student at Laurentian University.
Police confirm he was out on the lake with 6 friends in a canoe and kayaks. One kayak capsized and when a friend jumped from a canoe to help, that vessel overturned. A man in that boat was pulled from the water in a semi-conscious state and was later pronounced dead at hospital.
"None of the occupants in the canoes or kayaks were wearing lifejackets, and they had no lifejackets or PFD's on board," said Const. Michelle Coulombe.
Lifejackets more commonly known as personal flotation devices or PFD now come in a wide range of styles.
A manager of an outdoor store in Sudbury says PFD’s have evolved from the cumbersome style they once were.
"I remember when I was little, when you put on a PFD or personal flotation device and I remember them hitting you in the neck and being uncomfortable and almost coming up to your ears," said Brandice Ramakko-Burke, the manager at Ramakko's Source for Adventure
"Nowadays they have completely evolved where they are easy to adjust, have multiple adjustment points."
The victims of the three separate fatal water related incidents over the long weekend were fishing, canoeing, and cliff jumping.
"Be cognizance of the height of these cliffs, and of you happen to fall in the water the wrong way, it's like hitting concrete and it could be fatal," said Const. Coulombe.
The latest OPP stats show 87% of the drowning victims in Ontario so far this year were not wearing lifejackets.