Okanagan River rescue near Oliver

Fire department called to rescue people on Okanagan River

The Oliver Volunteer Fire Department jumped into action to rescue people floating down the Okanagan River that were caught off-guard by the swift current and high level of the water.

At 2 p.m. the fire department received an emergency call out of two people stranded on an island north of Oliver, after their floatation devices had been swept down the river.

“There were people stranded on an island with no way of getting back across because of the depth of the water and how fast it was moving,” said Oliver fire public relations officer Rob Graham. “The swift water team swam across and met them. One person did have a lifejacket, but they outfitted them with PFD’s and used ropes to get them back across to shore.”

Graham said this was the first call they have had this summer season for a rescue on the Okanagan River.

“The big thing here is knowing where you are floating, what the river conditions are like and using appropriate floatation devices and not something cheap from a dollar store that may not be as buoyant or that could be easily torn or punctured from branches or stumps in the water,” said Graham.

He cautioned that those floating down the Okanagan River to remember there are islands, the river narrows and it can be somewhat fast-moving.