A Saturday afternoon at Mitten Lake quickly turned sour for a local family, as their boat sank in less than a minute in the middle of the deep lake.
The owner of the boat that sunk stated he was wearing a lifejacket, and his toddler on board was wearing a Puddle Jumper, which is a vest with foam arm bands attached. Other passengers on the boat were not wearing life jackets at the time of the incident.
Kelly Schuler was sitting on the wharf when the incident occurred. She said she could see something floating in the distance, and there was a lot of yelling. Some people who were on the beach noticed what was going on, and quickly jumped to action.
“These guys were there instantly to help,” Schuler said.
The group from Invermere heard the yelling, but nobody saw what exactly had happened.
“A couple of people from Invermere heard them yelling for help and ran down to their boat and went out to save them,” said Mitten Lake campground manager Trina Richmond.
The boat sank in less than a minute, Schuler heard the owner telling others. Apparently, the family had been filling up water weights used for wakeboarding when a wave overtook the boat and filled it with water. It went “straight up, and then straight down.”
“They all got out of there quite shook up,” she said. “It was scary for them.”
Richmond said the RCMP were called, but the owner of the boat was told to contact coast guard about the environmental impacts.
“They said it’s not big enough to cause any damage, and it’s just considered a salvage boat,” Richmond said. “So, as of now he has made his own arrangements with divers and 3,000 lb air bags to come out [July 16] to make an attempt to dive down, hook the boat up, and raise it up.”
Originally, the owner was going to try to pull it up with three other boats, but a storm rolled in over the lake, forcing everyone out of the water.
When they went back to find the boat later with a fish finder, it had sunk 40 feet below the surface of the water.
“No one could get down that far,” Richmond said.