Comox Valley man rescues woman from Courtenay River

"All of a sudden, she went down under the water, and her friend started to scream that she couldn't swim,"

What began as an afternoon paddleboarding down the Courtenay River turned into a dramatic rescue for Lee Murray on Tuesday afternoon, when he came to the aid of a woman tubing near Lewis Park.

The Comox Valley resident was on the river with his kids as he saw a woman whose tube flipped over and she began to drift backwards.

“At that point, there was no panic. All of a sudden, she went down under the water, and her friend started to scream that she couldn’t swim, so I dove in and swam where she was and dove down to her,” explained Murray.

He said the woman, 60, had a bag with a piece of rope, between six to eight feet long attached to her hip that had anchored itself onto some rocks under the water.

“She was being pulled under and the rope had wrapped around her neck twice, so she was being asphyxiated,” he added.

Murray grabbed the woman’s ankle, dislodged the bag and pulled her on her back and floated about 200 yards down the river to the beach area, where emergency personnel were called.

“(She was) pretty distressed. She had laboured breathing … she was not a very good colour,” he noted. “She was conscious but unresponsive.”

The woman was transported to St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox then airlifted to Victoria General Hospital due to the seriousness of her condition, confirm Comox Valley RCMP.

Police added she is in stable condition and staff are hopeful for a positive recovery.

Murray said the best piece of advice he can offer others is to wear a lifejacket when planning water activities.

“Rivers are funny things — the water is always moving — it’s not like a lake or the ocean. It’s a different animal, and anything can happen at any time.”

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Just Posted

Land & Sea Brewing Company opens its doors in Comox

Managing director says the brewery will be a compliment to the Valley’s craft beer scene

Two Courtenay Habitat for Humanity families receive keys to new homes

Lake Trail Road project officially has residents

Preparations ongoing for Courtenay’s annual Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner

The doors of the Florence Filberg Centre, downtown Courtenay, will open again… Continue reading

Valley woman found guilty on three charges following 2016 collision in Courtenay

The woman involved in a trial for a multi-vehicle collision in which… Continue reading

Swiss juniors train in Comox Valley

The Swiss national junior hockey team is training at the Comox Valley… Continue reading

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

VIDEO: Craft growers will add to recreational market, cannabis producer says

Two B.C. men say their expertise in running small legal medical grow-ops a benefit to recreational market

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Risk of catching the flu increasing in B.C. this holiday season: BCCDC

Dr. Danuta Skowronski with the BC Centre for Disease Control says influenza will pick up during the holidays

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Most Read