Summer fun turns tragic

What is it about long weekends that make British Columbians flirt with disaster and produce tragedy?

What is it about long weekends that make British Columbians flirt with disaster and produce tragedy? That one extra day that seems to supersize bad summer outcomes in the outdoors.

On Tuesday morning the desk at the BC Coroner’s office in Victoria was stacked high with files from another long weekend filled with fatal outcomes all across the province. Car accidents and drownings topped the list.

The chilling reality of the dangers that exist in the outdoors came horribly close to home on Saturday when a 64-year-old local man drowned in Kootenay River at a popular Marsden Road rock outcropping known as Coyote Point. On a gorgeous Kootenay summer afternoon, the lives of his family and friends have been forever changed by the tragedy. Our hearts go out to them in their time of grief.

As is the case when shocking situations unfold in our backyard, there are more questions than answers. Though the investigation into the Kootenay River drowning is continuing, it’s natural to wonder if there is anything that could have been done to prevent it from happening.

Heading into the long weekend there were plenty of warnings from officials. Over the past five years in British Columbia there has been an average of 80 drownings a year. Given the high number of people expected to bask in the long weekend weather, the BC Coroners Service sent out messages through the media to be wary when enjoying the abundance of water sport opportunities in the province.

The reality is all the warnings in the world will never be able to prevent long weekend tragedy. It’s simply a matter of the sheer number of people enjoying the outdoors.

There is no answer or explanation that will help make the situation any easier to grasp. The best we can hope for is that folks continue to be cautious while basking in all the natural glory our area has to offer. Play smart, look out for your friends and never underestimate the dangers that exist in nature’s playground.