Brenda Boudar would like the public to learn how to swim and use lifejackets for safety.
This comes after she rescued a toddler from the Coquihalla River at School House Rock, east of the Othello Tunnels.
“A young Asian family came down. Mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, baby and a toddler,” said Boudar. “So they come down to play in the water. I thought immediately: not a good place for a young child to be running around.”
Her sixth sense told her that something bad will happen to the toddler, who she estimates to be about two years old, and decided to stay.
“This baby is going to end up in the water,” said Boudar. “The parents were not watching her. They’re obviously not from here, and so they weren’t aware where they were.”
The parents stood on a rock near the river while their children played, she said.
Boudar suddenly saw the two parents struggling to reach out for their toddler.
“I actually think he slipped in, because these are slippery rocks once you get your feet on them,” said Boudar. “Dad got hold of toddler, and dragged her under. At the third time when he was dragging her under, I realized he couldn’t swim.”
She saw the father gasping for air as he struggled for his child.
“So I bolted and jumped in,” said Boudar.
She said her first concern was to get the toddler’s head above water.
“I remember saying to the dad, ‘Let go of the child.’ But obviously he was panicking, so he grabbed me.”
As a result, Boudar was dragged under the water too, and the man would not let go. The best Boudar could do was to swim back, and raise the toddler onto the rocks.
The dad followed.
“By that time, a young Native boy came down and helped the dad out of the water,” said Boudar. “Grandma and grandpa grabbed baby, getting her all dried off.”
The toddler was unfazed.
“She looked all excited and ready to do it again,” said Boudar.
Boudar gave the dad a dressing down.
“I talked to the dad and explained to him: it’s his responsibility as a parent to make sure he can swim, his children can swim and lifejackets for all your babies, please,” said Boudar.
As a result of that rescue, Boudar sustained injuries on her foot. She went to the emergency room to do X-rays on her left leg.
“I badly sprained my toes on my left foot,” said Boudar. “My right leg is not in good shape.
“I’m just very grateful that the little girl is OK. Dad, well, I’d like to bop him in the head.”