Alcohol, Overcrowding Blamed in Drowning

By David Klassen

Alcohol is being blamed in the drowning death of a 27-year-old Garden Hill First Nation man on Friday.

RCMP say shortly after 5 p.m. they received a report from Manitoba Conservation about a capsized boat about three kilometres south of Stevenson’s Lake on Island Lake. Nine people had swam to shore, including one individual who later died. Conservation officers were originally responding to a bush fire when they came across the overturned boat.

The boat was overcrowded and took on water before is capsized. The 27-year-old man who died swam to shore safely, but noticed his 25-year-old wife was struggling to make it. He swam back to help her, but couldn’t make it back himself.

The 39-year-old driver of the boat, a man from Garden Hill First Nation, was arrested and charged with impaired operation of a vessel causing death, and impaired operation of a vessel causing bodily harm. He will appear in court on August 17.

One woman in the boat was transported to a Winnipeg hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Five other people were arrested for being intoxicated, while another was arrested for failing to comply with his undertaking.

No one in the boat was wearing a life jacket.

RCMP are continuing to investigate.

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