Woman drowns in Oldman River in Lethbridge, Alta.

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Lethbridge police and fire and emergency services responded to a drowning incident early Monday evening. (Sarah Lawrynuik/CBC - image credit)
Lethbridge police and fire and emergency services responded to a drowning incident early Monday evening. (Sarah Lawrynuik/CBC - image credit)

A 42-year-old woman drowned Monday night after going swimming in the Oldman River in Lethbridge, Alta.

Fire and emergency services responded to a 911 call early Monday evening that a person had entered the water and gone under near Popson Park, the City of Lethbridge said in a Tuesday release.

Witnesses said the woman, who has not been publicly identified by officials, was swimming with her friends when she drifted away from the group and seemed to struggle with the current.

Friends attempted to reach the woman but quickly lost sight of her.

One of them climbed the bank of a nearby coulee to get cellphone reception and called for help.

Police responded just before 7 p.m. to assist EMS and fire crews in their search.

Fire paramedics recovered the woman near the Paradise Canyon Golf Course but were unable to resuscitate her.

"This is a sobering reminder of the dangers of the river," the release said. "Residents are reminded to always use extreme caution."

The City of Lethbridge has tips to stay safe near bodies of water during the summer. Swimmers should:

  • Have a float plan — where are you entering and exiting the river? How long will it take? How many people? When are you leaving and returning? Tell someone.

  • Always have a buddy and never swim, float or fish alone.

  • Make sure you tell your friends when you leave and when you will return.

  • Always wear a life-jacket.

  • Check weather reports before you head out.

  • Never use drugs or alcohol.

  • Bring supplies — shoes, cellphone, flashlight, whistle, life-jacket, water.

  • Never go near a weir.

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