The city of Cold Lake has acquired two river rescue boats to be used by Cold Lake Fire Rescue.
The city purchased two Profish 380 Riverboats which are each equipped with 25 Horsepower lightweight Yamaha outboard motors, to be used for navigating rivers in the area, such as the Beaver River.
The city started the acquisition about 18 months ago after talking with local emergency responders to determine the most appropriate equipment for the area.
The two river rescue boats are part of the City of Cold Lake’s response to a June 5th, 2021 accident where a young resident of the M.D. of Bonnyville, fell into the Beaver River and was pulled under the water by the strong current and drowned.
Authorities conducted a four-day search but were hindered by limited resources and equipment that could easily navigate the narrow and winding Beaver River alongside poor weather conditions, unpassable terrain and poor visibility underwater.
Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland says this was a tragic event that affected everyone within the Lakeland.
“While all the crews did everything they could to find Aaron, we realized after that we had a lot of work to do to improve how an accident like this should be handled.”
“The Beaver River can be so narrow and shallow in some areas, so it’s impossible for most watercraft to move through the river. We knew that we had to change this and get the proper equipment, so if an incident like this happens again, our crews would be ready”.
Members of the Cold Lake Fire Rescue will be receiving specialized training to operate these riverboats in the coming months, before the boats are put into service.