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  • Winnipeg Tribune

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Conducts Ice Water Rescue Near Fort Garry Bridge

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service performs ice water rescue.
Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Water Rescue Unit

By: Staff Writer I Winnipeg Tribune

Winnipeg, December 12, 2023 - The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) were called to do a ice water rescue operation near the Fort Garry Bridge this afternoon. At approximately 2:57 p.m., WFPS teams arrived at the Red River to find an individual perilously clinging to a sheet of ice, approximately 30 feet from the riverbank.

WFPS deployed their specialized Water Rescue team. Utilizing an ice rescue sled anchored to shore, a firefighter navigated the icy waters, reaching the stranded individual. The firefighter secured the individual onto the sled before being pulled to safety by team members stationed on the shore. To ensure continuous surveillance and oversight during the rescue mission, the WFPS drone was mobilized to monitor both the rescuer and the individual in distress.

Officials said the patient was found to be in critical condition and was immediately attended to by on-scene paramedics before being transported to the hospital. The circumstances leading to the individual entering the water remain unclear, leaving authorities with no information on the duration of time spent in the frigid river.

As temperatures drop and ice formations become prevalent across Winnipeg's water bodies, authorities caution residents against underestimating the hazards. The WFPS emphasizes the unpredictable nature of ice surfaces, cautioning that appearances can be deceptive, and seemingly sturdy ice might be dangerously thin. The risk of falling into icy waters, especially amidst snow cover, poses lethal consequences.

The WFPS urges parents, guardians, and educators to engage in conversations with children of all ages regarding the inherent dangers of playing near water bodies, emphasizing vigilance, especially when unsupervised. With frozen water bodies deemed unsafe for recreational use, heightened awareness and caution are strongly advised.

Residents are encouraged to adhere to the following water safety guidelines issued by WFPS:

  • All waterways, including rivers, streams, retention ponds, and ditches, should be considered hazardous.

  • Swift-moving waters are especially perilous due to the presence of both visible and concealed debris, warranting absolute avoidance.

  • Steer clear of riverbanks and water edges, as slippery surfaces combined with moving water can pose grave risks.

  • Pet owners are reminded to leash their dogs near water bodies to prevent accidents or animals getting stranded.

  • Venturing onto ice-covered surfaces not only endangers individuals but also necessitates rescue missions, endangering responders.

  • In the event of witnessing someone in distress in water or on ice, immediately dial 9-1-1 and avoid attempting a rescue personally, waiting for professional assistance.

It is worth noting that in the previous year, WFPS responded to nearly 150 water rescue calls.


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