When Nakusp resident Daniel Ponto went to the beach on Monday evening (May 11) to relax, he didn’t expect to be involved in a dramatic boat rescue.
It all began when Ponto sat down along Arrow Lake near Nakusp around 8:30 p.m.
After gazing out onto the lake, Ponto said it didn’t take him long to realize something wasn’t quite right.
“When I looked up, I realized there was something moving in the water. Then, I also saw something sitting beside it,” said Ponto.
“I thought to myself and said ‘man, that doesn’t look good.’ Sure enough, when I turned my music down I heard people yelling and screaming at me.”
Ponto soon realized that a man and woman were hanging onto a cooler approximately thirty feet away from their boat, which was barely sticking out of the water capsized on its side.
Adding to the ordeal, two dogs were also swimming in the lake.
The next spur-of-the-moment decision made by Ponto likely saved lives.
“I called my mom to let her know what was going on. I also decided to call my buddy, who was able to come down to the beach with his rowboat to rescue them,” said Ponto.
“While the people were making pretty good progress swimming 200 metres towards the shore, I wasn’t sure how long they’d been in the water.”
Over the next few minutes, Ponto rummaged through his own personal belongings to see if he could use anything to help save them.
After Brandon Fortune and Tyler Hascarl, Pontos’ friends, arrived with the rowboat, Ponto said the rescue went straightforward from there.
“The rescue didn’t seem like too much of an issue,” said Ponto.
“However, it was definitely a tight pack in the boat with four people and two dogs.”
By the time everyone made it back to shore, Ponto’s mom and two sisters were also at the beach to give the couple some blankets to warm up.
Ponto said the couple weren’t in the best condition after they made it to shore.
“The woman was having a hard time moving. The guy seemed to be doing better than she was,” said Ponto.
“By the time we drove them to the hospital, they were both pretty rough. They were operating though.”
Ponto’s friends, Colten Petterson and Holly Hascarl, took the couple to the hospital.
Jaime Godtmark, who is Ponto’s friend, let the dogs stay at her place until the couple were released from hospital.