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Chilliwack Progress

Young girl drowns tubing in Chilliwack River

By Robert Freeman - Chilliwack Progress

Published: August 13, 2008 11:00 PM
Updated: August 13, 2008 11:07 PM

A 16-year-old Chilliwack girl tubing down the Chilliwack River with a friend drowned Wednesday evening when she got sucked under a log jam.

Police say two brothers of the girl, whose name is not being released, were also tubing in the area and made a desperate attempt to save her.

"They risked their own safety to try and free her," said Const. Lea-Anne Dunlop, but the force of the river current was too strong.

However, eyewitness Peter Buck, a federal fisheries employee familiar with the river, said he doesn't believe the two men in their late 20s were related to the girl.

But he agreed they risked their lives to save her.

"I thought this one guy was going to drown too," he said. "I'd say he came within 10 seconds of drowning himself."

The girl was "wrapped around" a log, pinned by the force of the river, and the two men were trying to pull her free, he said.

Buck was driving along the top of the dike about two kilometres upstream from the Vedder Bridge when he heard screams and saw the two men at the log jam.

"I heard yelling and screaming, 'grab her, grab her,'" he said.

One of the men got hold of the girl's arm or hand, but he couldn't pull her free because of the current.

"He wasn't able to pull her off the log, and she got sucked under," Buck said.

The girls were tubing in a "cheap plastic raft" in an area above the bridge where the river narrows into a "chute" that runs into the log jam, he said.

"It's just a deadly trap for anybody coming down there on a rubber raft, especially if you're not aware of the danger," he said.

Tubing is relatively safe in the waters below the bridge, but "definitely" not above the bridge, he said.

Chilliwack RCMP were called to the scene at about 6:45 p.m. The police and BC Coroners' Office are investigating.

This is sure sad news. My heart goes out to the family.

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Risks are taken every day in many ways. When this happens to somone young and while they are
ejoying life to the fullest is almost to much to bear. What a tragity


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Wow.... I think I even know what log jam they are talking about as me and my friend saw it coming up and decided to exit and walk around it :wallbash: Those kids must have not been too far behind us either. My heart goes out to the family, stuff like this shouldn't happen. :'( As for any one else thinking of going up that way, be very careful, there are a lot of things to watch out for...
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