Klamer Eggens was out for a Sunday stroll along the Alouette River – just taking photos of dandelions and song birds – when he found himself suddenly embroiled in a water rescue.
A couple out cycling noticed a man clutching onto a kayak floating by, and called out to Eggens to lend a hand.
“The kayaker was obscured by a row of blackberry bushes,” Eggens said, “So he was hard to spot, and his head was just above the water line.”
Eggens said he and one of the cyclists had to coach the weary man ashore a short distance away from where the Alouette meets the Pitt River, as the other cyclist called an ambulance.
“Apparently he had been in the water for half an hour before we could help him out,” Eggens said.
“Luckily he had a life jacket on to keep him bouyant.”
The passing photographer said the man struggled to get to shore while still holding on to the water craft.
“Later we found out he had just bought (the kayak) and he didn’t want to lose it,” Eggens said.
“He picked it up for his retirement, and wanted to give it a try, but he didn’t realize the kayak was so unstable.”
It appeared to be a slim-style kayak, perhaps more suited to racers, he opined, noting the man should probably have just swum to shore right away.
“The smart thing to do is always go with a group of people,” Eggens added.
“If there are two or three kayaks, a capsized one is easier to stabilize and get back in.”
No medical attention was needed, thankfully.
Eggens said he lent the shivering man a sweatshirt, and with the aid of one of the cyclists, helped the kayaker get to his car where he had another change of clothes.
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