A late afternoon canoe expedition gone wrong ended right, thanks to the efforts of witnesses who swam and paddled into the frigid waters of Alta Lake to save two men who had capsized in a canoe.
The RCMP received an emergency call just after 5 p.m. on May 7 that two adult males were in the water. Neither was wearing a lifejacket and they appeared to be in a state of panic. It's still unknown whether either of the two men could swim.
Two witnesses, one from B.C. and another from Alberta, swam out to the overturned canoe and brought one of the men back to the shore. A local with a kayak attempted to rescue the second man as he and the canoe were driven by winds to the north end of the lake. The kayaker attempted to calm the man down, but seeing that the male was exhausted and about to go underwater he grabbed hold and tried to pull the man back to shore. The kayak tipped over, but he still managed to pull the male to the shore for treatment by firefighters and paramedics who had arrived on the scene.
The first male fled the seen, while the second was identified as a 33-year-old male from Nova Scotia. RCMP say he had been drinking and was suffering from hypothermia when he was pulled from the water.
The RCMP have cited all three volunteers for their actions, but will not identify the rescuers until they obtain their permission. An RCMP officer also entered the water to assist in the rescue.
No charges are being considered.
The lesson, says Sergeant Shawn LeMay of the Whistler RCMP, is to always wear a flotation device when paddling the local lakes.
Stolen vehicle recovered
The Whistler RCMP recovered a stolen vehicle with stolen plates and stolen insurance tags on Sunday, May 9 after pursuing the vehicle through Whistler.
The RCMP attempted to stop the vehicle, a red Volkswagen GTI that they identified as suspicious, just after 1 a.m. The car and driver fled, taking the RCMP on a chase through the village to the highway and toward Function Junction. The driver attempted to hide the vehicle from police. The police found the vehicle, which then fled again back towards the village. The vehicle was located abandoned in Alpha Lake Village, with the driver and suspected passengers fleeing on foot.
Sergeant Shawn LeMay said the driver went as fast as 100 km/h during the pursuit, but was cognizant of other drivers and even yielded to another driver at one point. In the interest of public safety the RCMP kept their distance during the pursuit to prevent an accident.
The RCMP are still investigating and want to hear from anyone who may have seen the vehicle or its occupants earlier in the day.
Impaired driver stopped
Just before 11 p.m. on Saturday, May 8 the Whistler RCMP stopped a vehicle on Highway 99 after they observed it weaving and almost going into the ditch three times. The driver, identified as a 27-year-old Whistler male, later provided breath samples of .220 per cent, or almost three times the legal limit of 0.08.
The RCMP also handed out one 24-hour prohibition last week, at 1:46 a.m. on May 10 after stopping a vehicle that was driving in a "peculiar manner."
Thefts from vehicle reported
The Whistler RCMP responded to half a dozen complaints of theft from motor vehicles in underground parking lots at the south end of Village Stroll. In some cases the locks were broken and in others a tool like a screwdriver was used to pry open the doors. In most of the cases it appears the thief or thieves were after sunglasses.
The RCMP are once again reminding people not to leave any valuables in their vehicles.
RCMP investigate break-in
The Whistler RCMP are investigating a break-and-enter which occurred overnight on May 6-7 on the 4,000 block of Blackcomb Way. The thief broke the lock into a storage area belonging to a local business and stole a laptop and other information on paper files.
The RCMP are investigating to see whether there is a connection between that break-in and a break-in a few days earlier of a property management company where computers and data records were stolen, along with an array of keys to rental properties.
RCMP respond to bear calls
The Whistler RCMP used non-lethal techniques on bears this week.
The first incident was reported in the late morning of May 11, and involved a bear that had somehow found its way into the fenced area surrounding the Whistler Medals Plaza. The police stationed an officer near the playground, and a bear banger device was used to scare the bear into a wooded area to the north of the plaza.
The bear was medium-sized and untagged. There's no word on whether it was male or female.
The RCMP also responded to a bear call on the evening of May 11 at Sundial Place. They found the bear surrounded by people with cameras, and managed to coax the bear out of the area, down the Village Stroll and towards the conference centre, where it climbed a tree in a glade to hide. Satisfied that the bear was no threat to the public and that bear-watchers have moved on they pulled back to give the bear space to make a getaway.
The bear was also described as mid-size and untagged, although there's nothing to indicate that it's the same bear from earlier in the day.
The RCMP are asking the public to give bears in public areas lots of space, not to approach bears and especially to never corner a bear or block its escape route.
RCMP taking stock of cyclists
Sergeant Shawn LeMay has a message for cyclists in Whistler, and it's to play safe. Recently he has noticed several cyclists riding on roads and the highway without helmets, riding against traffic and riding after dark without proper lights or reflectors. Cyclists should obey the laws or they may be subjected to fines he says.
Riding without a helmet is a $29 offence in British Columbia. Riding without lights after dark, carrying passengers (doubling), riding against traffic and riding without "reasonable consideration" for the safety of others carry a fine of $109. As well, the municipal bylaw department can levy fines of up to $500 for individuals biking in the village.
"First and foremost we want it to be safe, we don't want anybody getting hurt," said Sgt. LeMay. "I've seen too many close calls and situations that are potentially dangerous."
Adults are strongly encouraged to wear helmets because, says Sgt. LeMay, "the kids are watching us."
Lose your I.D.? Check with RCMP
The RCMP have stockpiled almost 100 personal identification cards collected over the past winter and are asking anyone who may have lost their I.D. to claim it at the Whistler RCMP detachment in the village.