In the midst of National Drowning Prevention Week, RCMP in Manitoba have two sobering reminders of just how serious the issue is.

RCMP say in a release that over the course of five days Westman RCMP responded to two separate drownings in the region.

Police were first called to Reston Lake in Reston, Man. on July 15, 2021, at approximately 8:50 p.m. When officers arrived on scene, they were told that a man had been swimming in the lake with family members. When the family exited the water, the male was not with them. They began searching for him and called police.

The local fire department attended and was searching in the water. RCMP, Manitoba First Nations Police Service, and the remaining emergency services in attendance searched the surrounding area. The fire department and rescue team from Virden and Oak Lake also attended and began searching.

After a couple of hours of searching, the 39-year-old male from Canupawakpa Dakota First Nation was located underwater and brought to shore. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.

On July 20, 2021, at approximately 4:30 p.m., Westman RCMP received a report of a possible drowning at Kenton Dam at the Kenton Campground in the RM of Wallace-Woodworth, Man. Officers attended and were informed that a male had been seen swimming alone. The witnesses left and came back approximately half an hour later to find the male gone, but his vehicle and his dog were still at the scene. Police immediately began searching.

Searches were conducted onshore as well as by boat for several hours, but the male was not found.

The RCMP Underwater Recovery Team attended the scene and deployed their Underwater Remote Operated Vehicle. The male was located and brought to shore. The 52-year-old male from Kenton was pronounced deceased.

Life Saving Society Manitoba says that over 400 Canadians die in drownings annually. Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death among Canadians under 60 years of age.