No other word suffices when talking about the canoe mishap that occurred on Slocan Lake on the weekend.
The vessel, with four young people aboard, apparently capsized, plunging the group into the chilly water.
As we pen this editorial, one is dead and three others are still missing.
While search and rescue continue to survey the lake, the efforts are now considered a recovery mission.
Again, we say tragic.
The community of New Denver, where the boaters were from, is in shock. The families are dealing with unimaginable grief. The police and rescuers are grimly focussing on their jobs. Even reporters covering the story are impacted by the tragedy.
All are asking the same questions. Why did this happen? Could it have been avoided? Could more have been done? As usual in these situations, there are no easy answers.
Reports indicate the four were not wearing life jackets. But there is no way to know if life jackets would have helped them fight off the water’s icy grip.
Still, one wonders if floatation devices could have provided more time, allowing rescuers to find them.
In a world where we heavily advertise the dangers of drinking and driving, where seatbelt ads fill our TV screens and warnings about paying attention in everyday situations are everywhere, we have to ask ourselves: is the safety message getting through to our youth?
Maybe there is too much attention paid to road safety and not enough to boating. We can’t say for sure. And right now it matters little to the families.
All we can do is support them, offer help and our prayers. Then we can go home and give our kids a hug.