Revelstoke residents Colin Titsworth (pictured) and Brett Renaud are being credited with saving two lives after a pair of Revelstoke canoeists capsized at Blanket Creek.

Rescuers make last-minute save after boaters capsize in frigid Columbia

Revelstoke residents Colin Titsworth and Brett Renaud are being credited with saving two lives after a canoe capsized in the Columbia River

Revelstoke residents Colin Titsworth and Brett Renaud are being credited with saving two lives on June 15 after rescuing two capsized canoeists who were slipping into shock and hypothermia while clinging to a floating log in the middle of the Columbia River.

The incident happened on June 15 at around 8:30 p.m.

Revelstoke resident Cameron Vansolkema and his stepson Cody Thomson, 16, were camping at Blanket Creek Provincial Park south of Revelstoke.

They canoed across the flooded Columbia River earlier in the day to do some fishing on the eastern shore.

While on their way back across the river that evening, the pair slipped up for a brief moment. “We both looked over one side and it just flipped,” said Thomson. “We tried flipping [the canoe] back over, but all the water went into it and it started to sink, so we started swimming.”

Thomson said they swam for about 20 minutes towards the western shore. They soon realized just how bad their predicament was. “I looked back and it was like we never even moved,” Thompson said. The Columbia is currently flooded and very wide at Blanket Creek.

Thomson said that’s when they started cramping up and feeling the effects of the extreme cold.

The pair managed to find a log that was floating in the middle of the river and grabbed on. It was just in time. “I went into shock and got hypothermia,” Thomson said. “We started calling for help.”

Thomson estimates they clung to the log for about five minutes and were in the water for about 30 minutes. “I was really freaked out,” he said.

Luckily for Vansolkema and Thomson, camper Brett Renaud and Blanket Creek park manager Colin Titsworth heard their screams. They grabbed a canoe and forged towards the fading pair.

Thomson says without their rescue efforts, they wouldn’t be alive. “They picked me up … I laid down [in the canoe.] I actually don’t remember that because I actually fell asleep,” Thomson said of his experience slipping into shock.

The pair took Thomson to shore and went back out for his stepfather, rescuing him as well.

In the meantime, authorities in Revelstoke had been notified. RCMP, Revelstoke Search & Rescue and the BCAS were dispatched. They treated the pair for hypothermia. Both men are doing fine now.

The Revelstoke RCMP are praising the efforts of Titsworth and Renaud. “The actions of Colin and Brett are extraordinary and both should be commended for their quick thinking,” said RCMP Staff-Sgt. Jacquie Olsen in a statement.

Thomson wanted to come spend some time at home following the incident, but Renaud and Vansolkema have stayed on camping at Blanket Creek – and couldn’t be reached immediately today.

Thomson would like to get in touch with Titsworth to thank him personally. “I haven’t seen Colin and he saved me,” Thomson said. “If he wouldn’t have come out I don’t think I would have made it.”

What lesson does he have to share about the incident? “Make sure you have a life jacket because it does save your life,” Thomson said. Without it, “I wouldn’t be here for sure, no.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jocelyn’s Jottings: Scared by my latest hydro bill

Luckily I have set up an equal payment plan with BC Hydro… Continue reading

Snow, snow and snow for Revelstoke

The white stuff will continue to fall into next week

Revelstoke already double last year’s snowfall

The city is just below halfway to the snowiest winter on record

Have your say on what it takes raising toddlers in Revelstoke

The study started collecting data last summer and is expected to continue until at least May

Canada to bolster screening of central China passengers for virus at 3 airports

Additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

B.C. town spends $14.14 per resident for snow removal in one month

Costs of snow removal to the Town of Princeton skyrocketed in December.… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Photo reminds Salmon Arm resident of connection to former drama teacher Justin Trudeau

Prime minister remembered as being as a funny, larger-than-life person

Province says it is monitoring AIM’s road maintenance

The provincial transportation ministry is working closely with new road contractor AIM,… Continue reading

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Most Read