Family of waterfall tragedy Scot hit out at lack of warnings
THE family of a Scottish man feared dead after being swept away in a Canadian river have questioned the lack of warning signs at the site of the incident.
Andrew Barrie, 50, was in a stretch of river described as “treacherous with strong
Ronald Legare, 74, and Jean Legare, 71, who were with him, died in the tragedy, after their small inflatable dinghy got into trouble and the three were swept over a waterfall.
Mr Barrie’s 16-year-old son, Andrew junior, managed to swim to shore as his father was swept over Cascade Falls.
His wife, Carol, was also on the holiday.
Search and rescue officials in British Columbia say the canyon in the Kettle River, near Grand Forks, close to the United States border, is dangerous and claims a number of lives each year.
The group of friends, who were “tubing” on the river, were supposed to come ashore before reaching the canyon.
However, unseasonably high rains in late spring and early summer have led to British
Columbia rivers running higher and faster than normal, and the holiday-makers were unable to stop.
Officials say eight lives were lost in rivers in the state last weekend, and officials now plan to put up warning signs.
However, Mr Barrie’s family indicated they should have been in place earlier.
“There are no signs anywhere indicating the possible dangers and we had no concerns whatsoever on being on the water that day,” they said in a statement.
“It is with great sadness and grief that we can confirm that Andrew Barrie, of Balloch, is missing, presumed drowned.
“What had started as a beautiful, peaceful float on the river with friends who knew the river well turned to tragedy with the loss of three lives.
“The river is normally calm and was used by other people on the same day.”
The family said the two bodies recovered so far were of local people who had lived in the area for ten years.
Officials said that, although the canyon is dangerous, the river running up to it has been safe in previous years.
A spokeswoman for the British Columbia coroner’s office, said: “They have had two times as much rainfall as usual, so rivers are running much higher and faster than would be expected in July. Because of that, the current swept them right past where they should have got off. They should never have been in the canyon at all.”
She added: “We are now thinking about putting a big warning in that part of the country, to let people know the rivers are running high and fast.”
Barry Savitskoff, of Grand Forks Search and Rescue, said: “The canyon takes a lot of lives. Every year we’re here pulling somebody out of the river that’s deceased from drowning.”
The news has shocked Mr Barrie’s community in Balloch, West Dunbartonshire.
Andrew MacGregor, charge-hand at The Dog House pub in the town, said: “It is a shock to everyone in the area. He was really well liked. Everybody had a lot of time for him.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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