Edmontonians warned to stay away from North Saskatchewan River as rescues jump


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Edmontonians are being warned to stay away from the North Saskatchewan River as rescue calls have spiked.

In a news release Wednesday, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) said crews have responded to 65 water or ice rescue calls since Jan. 1. Of those, 48 involved rescues on the river and more than double the number of river rescues EFRS responded to during the same time period in 2020.

“Ice is unpredictable, especially this time of year as it starts to break up,” said Bruce McWhinnie, chief of special operations with EFRS, in the release. “We urge Edmontonians to stay off the ice no matter how thick it appears to be, as it can give way at any moment.”

Edmontonians are also encouraged to stay away from riverbanks and to keep dogs on leash when near the river.

If you see someone fall through the ice, residents are urged to call 911 immediately, establish and maintain a point of reference to where the person was last seen and never attempt to rescue an individual or pet.

The warning comes after a man attempted to rescue a dog from the North Saskatchewan River on Tuesday and is now presumed dead.