Former lifeguard recounts daring rescue at Thetis lake

Rosa Kouri was planning for a relaxing day at the beach with her friends and family last weekend. What the former lifeguard didn’t expect was that by day’s end, she would become a hero.

“I didn’t even think,” she said. “I just jumped right in.”

Kouri was walking along the Thetis Lake trail when she heard someone screaming for help.

“Before I knew it, Rosa was sprinting down the hill,” said Kouri’s friend, Anna Lindsay-Baugh.

When she made it to the lake, Kouri saw three people bobbing in the water.

“It was a father and he was trying to hold his son and his wife up,” said Kouri.

She swam out to the trio and started pulling them towards shore.

“It’s messy with three people, so you kind of get pushed under, but I popped right back up and I got pretty close and there were people on shore shouting encouragement,” said Kouri.

“So I looked up at the people on shore and I said, ‘Help, I need help,’ and they very quickly formed a human chain.”

It’s a situation that has played out at Thetis Lake before.

View Royal Mayor David Screech says each summer brings its share of calls for first responders to the lake. But, he adds, this year things had been going exceptionally well.

“This is the first year on record that the fire department has not been called to Thetis Lake and I think that is a pretty significant milestone,” said Screech.

The mayor says safety at Thetis Lake comes with some personal responsibility. In addition to existing signage, he says the CRD has also been stepping up its safety measures.

“There’s park rangers there every day,” he said. “Often for a full shift throughout the day and I’ve seen that myself.”

The mayor said he hopes the rescued family will come forward to share their own story.

“Things can always be done better, so we need to review what happened and take it from there,” said Screech.

While Kouri says the young family escaped without injury, she knows the lake comes with its risks, and says she says she hopes her story will remind other swimmers to stay safe.