RCMP Const. Dustin MacIntyre was on routine patrol in Happy Valley-Goose Bay late afternoon on July 26 when he received word over his radio there was an emergency at Gosling Lake. Two young women had tipped over in their canoe and needed assistance.
Luckily one of the two women had a cellphone and was able to call for help. Someone who was on the lake that day also saw the capsize through binoculars.
MacIntyre and his partner raced to Gosling Lake, located 16 kilometres outside of town. From the beachside, he noticed the two women were too far from shore to reach quickly. So they went to the Christian Youth Camp side where they had a better view.
“As we were waiting for the search and rescue boat to arrive, we could hear them yelling 'help.'”
MacIntyre borrowed a nearby tourist’s kayak and life jacket and paddled out to the young ladies who were floating with the overturned canoe.
Luckily, Const. MacIntyre has plenty of experience with kayaks.
“I’m from Prince Edward Island originally, so I played around in the water my whole life – canoes, kayaks, and scuba diving,” he said.
The Ground Search and Rescue team was on its way and MacIntyre’s goal was "to give them something they could grab onto until the (search and rescue) boat came.”
When the constable arrived he noticed one of the women was struggling in the water. He got out of the one-person kayak and helped pull her into the vessel. It would be approximately 10 more minutes before the rescue team would arrive.
“I wanted to ensure her safety, so I jumped out and I just floated in the water until the boat could arrive,” recalled MacIntyre.
The constable commended the young women for their composure under such stressful circumstances.
“I told them they did very well and they were very brave.”
“Luckily the girls were prepared, which helped us bring them to safety.”
The two boaters were brought to the Labrador Grenfell Health for treatment and later released.
Keith Hillier, a member of the Ground Search and Rescue team in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, commended MacIntyre for his quick thinking on the lake that day.
“If the RCMP officer never made it to them (in the kayak) the outcome probably would have been a hell of a lot different, I’m sure,” said Hillier.