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Updated: Local rowers rescue woman in distress from Humber Arm waters

<p>Submitted photo</p>
<p>Members of the Barry Group women’s rowing team are shown before practice at Brake’s Cove early Wednesday morning. They include, from left, Sara Squires, Megan Brown, Sarah Rowe, Jessica Johnson, Steph Harnum and Amy Barry.</p>
<p>Submitted photo</p> <p>Members of the Barry Group women’s rowing team are shown before practice at Brake’s Cove early Wednesday morning. They include, from left, Sara Squires, Megan Brown, Sarah Rowe, Jessica Johnson, Steph Harnum and Amy Barry.</p>

A calm day on the water brings a sense of peace and a connection to the natural surroundings when Sara Squires is with her rowing team.

It’s early mornings with breathtaking scenery along the Humber River with sightings of loons, bald eagles and jumping silver missiles a frequent occurrence.

But that peace and tranquility quickly disappeared for Squires and the other members of the Corner Brook-based Barry Group women’s rowing team Thursday morning when the team became involved in a dramatic rescue.

Six of the seven members of the team, along with coxswain Jeff Griffin, hit the water after sunrise Thursday for what they figured was just another training session in preparation for the St. John’s Regatta.

The team usually holds practice sessions further out the bay or further up Humber River from the dock in Brake’s Cove.

On this particular day, though, the team opted to row out to Wild Cove, near the mouth of the Humber River.

Not long into the journey, two members of the team thought they saw something in the water. After a closer look, they realized there was indeed a person in the water, fully clothed and without a life-jacket.

“It definitely gave us all a bit of a fright,” Squires said Friday.

“It was a bit scary seeing a person in the water and really all we could see was the head.”

A woman, who Squires believed to be in her mid-30s with a French accent, shouted out to them.

“We heard the person say, ‘Excuse me sir, I made a mistake,’ and that’s when we realized, ‘Hey, we did see something, so let’s check it out.’”

It’s a mystery to Squires and company as to why the woman was in the water in the first place. There was no sign of a boat, canoe or jestski in the area.

“We have no idea where she came from,” she said. “She’s in the middle of Wild Cove in the middle of the ocean, probably a good 400 metres offshore.”

The team threw the woman a life-jacket and told her to hang on to the front of the boat because there was no more room inside.

An immediate call for emergency assistance wasn’t possible because the girls made a pact to keep cellphones off the water when they are training to avoid distractions.

“Jeff did a great job of keeping her reassured and calm the entire way across the bay,” Squires said.

Once they made it back to Brake’s Cove — a 20-minute trek — the girls made the woman comfortable by giving her blankets to warm up and provided her with water and snacks while waiting for emergency personnel to show up on the scene.

The woman was transported to hospital and held for observation overnight.

Squires has no idea what happened to the woman since the rescue, but she hopes to find out so the team knows she’s OK.

It wasn’t a typical day on the water, but it may have been fate that the team decided to go outside its usual route.

“I guess there was something in the cards,” said Squires. “I believe we were meant to be there, and meant to be there for a reason.”

Twitter: @WS_SportsDesk

It’s early mornings with breathtaking scenery along the Humber River with sightings of loons, bald eagles and jumping silver missiles a frequent occurrence.

But that peace and tranquility quickly disappeared for Squires and the other members of the Corner Brook-based Barry Group women’s rowing team Thursday morning when the team became involved in a dramatic rescue.

Six of the seven members of the team, along with coxswain Jeff Griffin, hit the water after sunrise Thursday for what they figured was just another training session in preparation for the St. John’s Regatta.

The team usually holds practice sessions further out the bay or further up Humber River from the dock in Brake’s Cove.

On this particular day, though, the team opted to row out to Wild Cove, near the mouth of the Humber River.

Not long into the journey, two members of the team thought they saw something in the water. After a closer look, they realized there was indeed a person in the water, fully clothed and without a life-jacket.

“It definitely gave us all a bit of a fright,” Squires said Friday.

“It was a bit scary seeing a person in the water and really all we could see was the head.”

A woman, who Squires believed to be in her mid-30s with a French accent, shouted out to them.

“We heard the person say, ‘Excuse me sir, I made a mistake,’ and that’s when we realized, ‘Hey, we did see something, so let’s check it out.’”

It’s a mystery to Squires and company as to why the woman was in the water in the first place. There was no sign of a boat, canoe or jestski in the area.

“We have no idea where she came from,” she said. “She’s in the middle of Wild Cove in the middle of the ocean, probably a good 400 metres offshore.”

The team threw the woman a life-jacket and told her to hang on to the front of the boat because there was no more room inside.

An immediate call for emergency assistance wasn’t possible because the girls made a pact to keep cellphones off the water when they are training to avoid distractions.

“Jeff did a great job of keeping her reassured and calm the entire way across the bay,” Squires said.

Once they made it back to Brake’s Cove — a 20-minute trek — the girls made the woman comfortable by giving her blankets to warm up and provided her with water and snacks while waiting for emergency personnel to show up on the scene.

The woman was transported to hospital and held for observation overnight.

Squires has no idea what happened to the woman since the rescue, but she hopes to find out so the team knows she’s OK.

It wasn’t a typical day on the water, but it may have been fate that the team decided to go outside its usual route.

“I guess there was something in the cards,” said Squires. “I believe we were meant to be there, and meant to be there for a reason.”

Twitter: @WS_SportsDesk

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