Rowing club helps rescue kayaker from Ottawa River

·1 min read
A kayaker was rescued from the Ottawa River Sunday morning. A spokesperson for Ottawa Fire Services says much of the credit goes to the Ottawa Rowing Club, which launched a boat and reached the kayaker first. (Jean Lalonde/Ottawa Fire Services  - image credit)
A kayaker was rescued from the Ottawa River Sunday morning. A spokesperson for Ottawa Fire Services says much of the credit goes to the Ottawa Rowing Club, which launched a boat and reached the kayaker first. (Jean Lalonde/Ottawa Fire Services - image credit)

A kayaker was taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after a high-stakes rescue Sunday morning on the Ottawa River.

In a press release, Ottawa Fire Services said a call came in at 10:36 a.m. about a kayaker in distress floating near the Alexandra Bridge.

"We don't know what happened, but all we know is that they were holding on to the side of their kayak and kind of kicking to try and gain ground," said fire department spokesperson Nicholas DeFazio.

The Ottawa River can be notorious for its strong currents, he said.

Much of the credit for the rescue goes to the Ottawa Rowing Club, De Fazio said, which launched a boat and helped the man out of the water.

"The river is quite high right now and quite quick," said Zak Lewis, the rowing club's head coach and executive director. "It was a really good thing we had eyes on the water."

'Pretty gnarly out there'

Lewis called the rescue a "shot in the dark," noting that if the kayaker had flipped another 100 metres out of sight in either direction he likely wouldn't have been rescued.

And at a different time of day, the club may not have had the necessary equipment or resources to get in the river as quickly as it did, he said.

"It's pretty gnarly out there," Lewis said. "Another four or five minutes could have been a very, very different conversation."

Fire crews also launched a boat and helped escort the kayaker to shore, where he was assessed and transferred into the care of paramedics.

The kayaker was back on shore by 11 a.m., the fire department said.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting