3 rescued from Whitehorse's Miles Canyon after canoe capsizes

·1 min read
Miles Canyon in Whitehorse in 2021. Three people were rescued from the canyon Thursday night after their canoe capsized. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)
Miles Canyon in Whitehorse in 2021. Three people were rescued from the canyon Thursday night after their canoe capsized. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)

Three people whose canoe capsized in Whitehorse's Miles Canyon are safe after being rescued Thursday night.

Fire crews were dispatched to the Schwatka Lake boat lunch, just south of downtown, and commandeered a private boat to travel upstream to the canyon area. That's where they spotted the three people clinging to the canyon walls.

"Given the velocity of the water, the temperature, and some of the debris that's coming down because of that, it was obviously a very, very time-sensitive response," said Jason Everett, Whitehorse's fire chief.

He said the crews were able to get the three people into the boat and bring them back to the boat launch where EMS paramedics were waiting, as well as the RCMP.

The three canoeists were assessed and released. No injuries were reported.

Everett added that crews later returned to the canyon, recovered the capsized canoe and brought it back to the Schwatka boat launch.

'Always, always wear a life-jacket'

Everett said all three were wearing life-jackets.

"[It] was essential for, you know, their safety and ultimate survival. They were in the water for a while, obviously. [It was] very cold," he said.

Everett said that although the Yukon River may appear calm on the surface, the current is very strong.

"Swimming can be difficult if not impossible, but always, always wear a life jacket," he said.

Yukon experienced record snowpack in most areas of the territory last winter. As the snow melts, the Yukon River is rising in many areas and stream flows are high.

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