Three BC Emergency Health Services ground crews and an air ambulance crew responded to a report of an overturned raft on the Adams River on Monday afternoon, June 22, 2020. (File photo)

Whitewater adventurers rescued after raft capsizes on Adams River

Shuswap whitewater rafting company owner says now is not a safe time to be on the Adams

Emergency responders were called to the Adams River after a group of whitewater rafters wound up in the water.

Around 2 p.m. on Monday, June 22, BC Emergency Health Services paramedics, Chase RCMP and Shuswap Volunteer Search and Rescue received a report of a capsized raft on the Adams, between Adams Lake and Shuswap Lake.

Before emergency response personnel arrived on the scene, however, other rafters in the area were reported to have rescued those in the water.

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) responded with three ground paramedic crews and an air ambulance. A spokesperson with BCEHS confirmed eight people were recovered from the scene without injuries and no patients were transported to hospital.

Adams River Rafting owner Clif Garcia said the rafts involved were privately owned. He said he received a call for assistance Monday but had to ask they call 911.

“We weren’t in the area to be able to come and assist.,” said Garcia.

As of Tuesday, June 23, the BC River Forecast Centre had a high stream-flow advisory in effect for the Shuswap region.

Garcia explained his company is not currently operating on the river because of high water.

“We’ve experienced some flips in years past at this certain level we’re at right now and…I don’t want to bring clientele out there and have a 50/50 chance of making it through the Adams River gorge, potentially flipping and having a client get away from us.

“When the water gets to this level we just shut it down for the couple of weeks that we have to and then we re-open when it’s safe.”

Read more: Salmon Arm RCMP respond after backwoods drive goes awry

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In addition to the high water, wood debris along the river is another concern for Garcia, who advised it’s never a good time to go out on the river alone.

“There’s a ton of wood debris along the river’s edge and if you get swept into the wood debris it’s game over…,” said Garcia. “It’s scary when we do see people out there on their own doing their thing. We try to give them as much guidance as we can. First and foremost we tell them it’s a bad idea to even do it.”

As for Monday’s rescue, Garcia was glad to hear everyone was safe.

“Really, hats off to the people that were there assisting and helping out… They probably went for a pretty big swim whoever they were,” said Garcia. “It probably wasn’t very pleasant, but we’re glad they’re safe.”

Adams River Rafting monitors the river level daily, and Garcia said it appeared to be levelling out. If that continues, he said the company’s rafts could be back on the Adams as early as the June 27/28 weekend.

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