Fire crew drives onto golf course for water rescue

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The St. Albert Fire Department had to rescue a man from a water hazard near the fifth tee on a local golf course.

On Wednesday at 3:10 p.m., emergency services received a call that two people were trapped under a golf cart in a pond at the Sandpiper Golf & Country Club.

St. Albert Fire Chief Keven Lefebvre said a crew of six rushed out to the scene and arrived at the water hazard 15 minutes after receiving the call. They had to drive their emergency vehicle across the fifth tee box to access the pond.

Lefebvre said by the time the fire department arrived, one man had pulled himself out of the pond, while another man was hanging on to the side of the cart in the water.

“He was unable to get himself out of the water because he had some mobility issues,” Lefebvre said.

“Luckily nobody was drowning, and that is a much better outcome than getting there 15 minuets later if he was actually under the water.”

Although it was unknown how the duo ended up in the water, Lefebvre said alcohol was not a factor.

Nobody was injured in the incident or had to be taken to hospital.

Kevin Easthope, general manager of the course, said he has never seen anyone end up in the water. The cart path the duo was using has been around for 25 years, and had been used without incident until Wednesday. Easthope called the incident a “fluke.”

“He couldn’t get out of the water. He just had a bad knee, so it was a steep bank – so he couldn’t get up. They had to pull him up with one of their sleds,” Easthope said.

The golf course manager said it is important to pay attention to what you are doing while at a golf course.

The St. Albert Fire Department started the rescue but soon the Namao fire department arrived and was able to pull the man out of the water.

Although the Sandpiper Golf Course is not in a region they typically respond to, they took the call because of the dangerous nature of the situation. Lefebvre said technically Namao would normally respond to the call; he knew the St. Albert squad was closer to the emergency and could likely get there faster.

“We can’t sit and hum and haw and look at paperwork when there are people out on the water,” Lefebvre said.

The chief added they have mutual aid agreements in place for circumstances such as this incident.

“It does happen from time to time – to go help our neighbours out when we need,” Lefebvre said.

The fire chief said while they don’t do water rescues very often, the fire department performs them year-round. Lefebvre said it is important to appreciate the department’s limitations when it comes to water.

“In natural water bodies sometimes there can be deep mud associated with the water. Even through it looks shallow, there could be a foot or two or three feet of mud under the surface and you could get stuck there,” Lefebvre said.

When spending time near water in the summer Lefebvre said to be careful and aware of your surroundings and never dive into water bodies you are unfamiliar with.

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Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.