This week there was a near tragedy at our Lewes River Control Structure just south of Whitehorse. A canoeing party of six in three canoes tried to go through the control gates, despite the prominent warning sign on the structure.
The group set off from the boat launch up stream wearing their life jackets. However within a few minutes, for whatever reason, some of them removed their safety gear.
Two of the canoes passed through one of our control gates without a problem, but the third canoe capsized. A female passenger was trapped under the water and our staff said it was several minutes before she was able to break free of the strong current. One of the other canoes came back for her and was able to pull her to safety. The second person who'd been in the capsized canoe was able to grab his life jacket and put it on before the current dragged him downstream, where he was rescued by his travelling companions.
Yukon Energy staff were working on the structure at the time but they were not able to reach the canoeists to provide assistance.
Please, please help us get the message out that it is very dangerous to attempt to travel through the gates. There is a boat lock at the control structure and it should be used by everyone travelling in any kind of watercraft.
We are planning a public information session at the control structure this summer to help people understand why they should not travel through the gates, and teach them how to use the boatlock. Watch this blog for details shortly.