Gazette file photo.

UPDATED: Near drowning at Thetis Lake in View Royal

Two 16-year-old boys saved by bystanders, lucky to be alive

Two foreign exchange students are lucky to be alive after nearly drowning Tuesday at Thetis Lake in View Royal.

Three members of the public that were nearby noticed the two 16-year-old boys were in trouble and pulled both of them out of the water to safety. One was unharmed but the other was in significant medical distress when B.C. Ambulance paramedics and View Royal firefighters arrived on scene by boat.

“This was an extremely close call for the one young male,” said View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst in a statement. “It’s my understanding that if the rescuers hadn’t have pulled the male out of the water when he did, he was literally one breath from drowning and being on the bottom. These individuals that saved this boy’s life should be very proud of their actions today. Honestly, I’m not sure they realized at the time how significant their intervention was.”

The bystanders gave a quick report on the boy’s condition but left the scene before they could be identified.

This is the first near drowning rescue firefighters and paramedics have been called to this year at Thetis Lake Park. But, as Hurst noted, it is not the first time rescuers have been called to rescue someone or recover a body at the lake.

“This is a good reminder to either stay away from the water if you can’t swim or know your swimming limitations,” Hurst added.

In total, eight firefighters and two paramedics were called to the lake at approximately 1:45 p.m. The boys were swimming on the east side of the lake, often referred to as the sunny side cliffs.

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