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Senior found floating in Blind Channel survives

Man found face-down in water, leading to fears he was dead Sylvie Paillard spaillard@squamishchief.

Man found face-down in water, leading to fears he was dead

Sylvie Paillard

A 77-year-old Squamish resident stunned even the most hardened emergency workers by surviving a near drowning in the Mamquam Blind Channel Thursday (June 22).

"I went into shock because hospital workers told me he was still alive," said Cpl. Dave Ritchie. "It was amazing to hear he was still alive."

Two residents called 911 at 10 a.m. Thursday morning, when they saw what they were convinced was a dead body floating in the water behind Howe Sound Women's Centre. The individuals went out in a rowboat and pulled the Indo-Canadian man to a log boom along a nearby wharf and waited for emergency workers.

It took several minutes for rescuers to pull the man from the log boom to the shore, and the entire time he remained face down. Once on shore, rescuers worked on the man while transporting him to hospital. Emergency workers were successful in resuscitating him.

"Without a word of a lie, we could easily have called a coroner as opposed to EHS," said Ritchie. "It appeared that he was deceased in the river."

The man, a resident of Third Avenue, hadn't yet spoken at press time, but he was on a respirator showing strong vital signs.RCMP know where the man's entry point was, but still don't know how he ended up unconscious and floating in the water.

"We didn't know if we had a crime scene or what we had," said Ritchie.

RCMP are now convinced, however, that there was no foul play.

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