High wind made for treacherous boating conditions on Sunday resulting in three separate rescues on Lake Newell near Brooks.
According to RCMP officials, wind gusts of approximately 80 km/h on Sunday afternoon led to emergency responses by the Brooks Fire Department, conservation officers and RCMP on Sunday afternoon.
A kayaker contacted 911 at around 4 p.m. after washing ashore on the south side of the lake and becoming disoriented.
A family of five was stranded — without shelter and with limited supplies — on an island on the lake after their large pontoon encountered waves of up to 1.5 metres high. Fire crews were unable to launch their boat from the main launch following the initial emergency call at around 5:30 p.m. and had to launch a medium-sized Zodiac from Jackfish Bay instead. It took two separate trips to return all members of the family to shore. RCMP say the boaters were exposed to the elements for nearly seven hours.
Shortly after 6:30 p.m., a boater called RCMP after his aluminum fishing boat was blown to shore near Kinbrook Island Provincial Park. Conservation officers located and transported him back to safety.
All three of the boats had cell phones on them and the boaters were able to provide GPS coordinates to assist their rescue.
The Brooks RCMP detachment and Brooks Fire Department encourage boaters to check weather conditions before heading out, monitor conditions while boating and to ensure they have proper safety equipment and supplies.
Dangerous conditions have contributed to the deaths of boaters on Lake Newell. Most recently, the body of a missing boater was pulled from the lake in October.