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Public warned about river perils during runoff

Heavy runoff might have eroded and undercut the banks of local creeks and rivers, so stay away from them.
The Bonaparte River near its confluence with the Thompson on Friday

Although Cache Creek fire chief Clayton Cassidy, who is presumed to have been swept away during flooding in Cache Creek in the early hours of May 5, has not yet been found, Ashcroft RCMP Sgt. Kathleen Thain cautions residents about conducting searches of local creeks and rivers on their own.

A sudden runoff of melting snow late last week caused the level of area creeks and rivers to rise dramatically. The snowpack at the head of Cache Creek is now virtually gone, and water levels have decreased; but the high water volumes may have undermined the banks of local waterways.

“Just don’t,” says Thain. “The water is still changing. Even though the water level has gone down, it may have eroded the underside of a bank, and you don’t realize that.

“If you go in this water, we’re now looking for you. We don’t have the time right now to do that, because we’re focused on Mr. Cassidy. If we have to change course for someone else, it’s taking away resources.”

The public are advised to stay away from floodwaters. If you come across a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go the other way. Six inches of swiftly flowing water can knock an adult off his or her feet.

Stay away from riverbanks. The ground might look stable, but swiftly rushing water might have undercut the soil, which could collapse under you.