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Kelowna pair honoured for saving four from drowning

Monday, March 22nd, 2010 | 6:25 am

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Canwest News Service

Saving the lives of four family members from drowning in a frigid lake last summer has earned a pair of friends from Kelowna medals for bravery.

Matt Jackson and Tyler Lockerby were driving along the Trans-Canada Highway to a refrigeration job in Revelstoke last June 29 when the van in front of them swerved, hit a median and rolled down a 20-metre embankment into Griffin Lake.

The van began sinking about five metres offshore. The two friends pulled over and immediately jumped into the glacier-fed lake in order to begin rescuing all four occupants — an elderly couple and two women.

Jackson dived down to the submerged van and pulled out the first three occupants one by one, handing each one off to Lockerby, who swam them to shore. They jointly pulled the fourth occupant to land.

The pair were among 25 heroes honoured on the weekend by the Lifesaving Society of B.C. at a ceremony at the Hotel Vancouver.

“It was pretty neat,” said Jackson, 19, who added that life is “still the same” since his act of heroism was first reported.

“It’s kinda cool being recognized and whatnot, but getting to hear the other people’s stories about their rescues was pretty neat, too.”

Jackson has had “one or two bad dreams” about the incident.

“It could have been worse with the one girl still in there,” he said.

Patricia Wicks was trapped and her air was running out when the two lifesavers swam back out to the van.

They tried to open the doors, which wouldn’t budge. They moved to the front of the van and noticed the window was broken.

They reached in and grabbed Wicks by the legs and pulled her to safety.

Jackson and Lockerby had a rendezvous in Calgary in July with Robert and Anne Coul and their family members Nancy Rowan and Wicks.

“We went and visited them and that was kinda neat,” said Jackson.

“Bob was still in hospital, so we didn’t get to see him.”

The experience has put Jackson on a new career path — he now wants to join the Canadian Forces Search and Rescue squad and has enrolled in a course this summer to become an emergency medical responder.

Jackson and Lockerby were presented with their silver medals for bravery by Solicitor-General Kash Heed.

Calsie Peterson of Delta and Jordan Oorebeek of Port Moody also received silver-medal bravery awards.

The two lifeguards saved a man in his mid-20s who couldn’t swim but who had waded into the Vedder River at a Chilliwack campground last August to retrieve a friend’s sandal.

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2 Responses to “Kelowna pair honoured for saving four from drowning”

  1. Allison Ramchuk says:
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    It is so awesome to read about something that renews your faith in the human spirit and willingness to help others when it matters most

  2. robski says:
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    yeah, its nice to hear about people doing good for a change! Great job guys.

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link