Kevin Hewer being assisted out of the Cowichan River at Little Beach by Lake Cowichan Fire Dept. Firefighters.  Inset: Hewer is grateful to be out of the cold water and dressed in warm firefighter’s pants and coat.

Kevin Hewer being assisted out of the Cowichan River at Little Beach by Lake Cowichan Fire Dept. Firefighters. Inset: Hewer is grateful to be out of the cold water and dressed in warm firefighter’s pants and coat.

Victoria man rescued from Cowichan River

On Sunday, May 13, Kevin Hewer, his sister Samantha, and two nieces Onna 15, and Lanita 17, had to be pulled from the Cowichan River

On Sunday, May 13, Kevin Hewer, his sister Samantha, and two nieces Onna 15, and Lanita 17, had to be pulled from the Cowichan River by members of the Lake Cowichan Fire Department, RCMP and Ambulance.

Hewer and his family had travelled up from Victoria to take advantage of the sunny weather and spend some time on the water. However, shortly after launching, they found themselves in trouble.

Hewer says he was in his kayak and his sister and two nieces were travelling down the river in an inflatable couch. Somewhere near the bend in the river by the end of Kingfisher Road, Hewer’s sister and her daughters got snagged. When Hewer tried to help them manoeuvre, both his kayak and their inflatable overturned. The women were able to climb onto a log, but Hewer was pulled down the river hanging on to his overturned kayak with an inner tube floating behind him. Somehow he managed to get onto the inner tube and get out of the freezing water.

Hewer managed to grab on to a branch along the bank of the river just above Little Beach and a woman living along the river offered to call 911. Hewer says that at first he told her he was okay because he felt embarrassed for having ended up in that situation.

When the Fire Department showed up, Hewer was still clutching the branch and using a shoe to bail out his kayak. He says he didn’t realize how shallow the water was or he would have just stepped into the river and turned the boat on it’s side.

Once firefighters were in position at Little Beach, the boat was bailed, and Hewer was once again in the kayak, Fire Chief Doug Knott told Hewer to let go of the branch and paddle as hard as he could, across the current to the opposite bank where firefighters were waiting.

Hewer had to paddle hard, using his shoes as paddles, and ran out of steam before he could reach the rope firefighters had thrown out for him to grab. Luckily, with more paddling and with help from a back eddy current, Hewer was sucked into the shore just up from where firefighters were positioned and they were able to pull him from the river.

Hewer was wet, cold, and tired as he walked up to the waiting fire truck. His vital signs were checked and he was given water and a fireman’s coat to warm up. At one point, he was even given a pair of fireman’s pants to put on because he was still shaking from the cold.

Hewer, originally from Edmonton, moved to Victoria a couple of years ago and says that he has tubed the Cowichan River before. However, this was last summer when the water was much lower, and he says that he did not take water elevation into account, or the current and the cold.

“We should have practiced on the lake,” he says. “I even said to my sister when we were getting in, ‘we’re the only ones getting in the river, did you notice that?’”

Hewer says he will be much more careful in the future and he considers himself lucky. He told firefighters he was really impressed with how fast they showed up and was very grateful for their help. “I didn’t think I would need rescuing. Ever,” he told them.

Knott says firefighters, police, and ambulance attendance had to crawl through the bushes at the end of Kingfisher road to rescue the three women stranded on the log over the river. A local resident kept the women company while firefighters made their way down to the river bank.

A swift water team was called in case they were needed, but thankfully were called off as firefighters and police were able to tie themselves off to the shore and assist the women in. Knott says it took quite a while and was quite the process, but luckily it all worked out and the women are safe.

Knott does not ever recommend tubing the river and says that it is becoming an increasing problem for the department.




Just Posted

Karl McPherson, left, and Mary Morrice are the new head coach and general manager, respectively, at the Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Manager charts a new course for Duncan Dynamics

More recreational programs to join competitive teams

Cute but fierce! Timber moonlights as an attack kitty. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Beware of Mr. Bite, the midnight attacker

Last week, in the middle of the night, I was awoken by… Continue reading

The province has come through with funding for Duncan Manor’s renewal project. (File photo)
Funding comes through for Duncan Manor’s renewal project

Money will come from the province’s Community Housing Fund

The former St. Joseph’s School site will remain an art studio at least into early next year. It will take some time before being converted to an addictions recovery community. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Addiction recovery facility will be all about building community together

Society on a clear path with members’ experiences to provide valuable help

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read