A 25-year-old Port Alberni man is recovering this morning after he nearly drowned Wednesday (July 31, 2013) on the Stamp River.
The man was swimming in the river, on the outskirts of Port Alberni, when two teens on the bank noticed that he was in distress, struggling to stay on the surface and even submerging at one point.
The young men, 13 and 16 respectively, jumped into the water and swam to the other man’s location approximately 30-40 feet from the shore, where they grabbed onto him and brought him to shore. When police arrived the victim was on his back and was breathing, albeit at a reduced rate, Port Alberni RCMP Cpl. Jen Allan said.
The officer provided medical aid to the man as they awaited attendance of the B.C. Ambulance Service. It was at this time that the officer learned that the swimmer was heavily intoxicated.
The B.C. Ambulance Service transported the victim to the West Coast General Hospital where he was treated and released.
The man was then taken into custody for a number of outstanding warrants, and it was determined that he was breaching conditions prohibiting alcohol use. He remains in custody this morning.
“While this event demonstrates the dangers associated with abusing alcohol while engaging in recreational water activities, it should not overshadow the heroic efforts of the two teens who took immediate action to rescue the swimmer,” Allan said.
“According to witnesses, the outcome would have been quite tragic had the duo not taken immediate action.”