Man recovering after rapids rescue south of Fort Smith

Last modified: October 15, 2019 at 5:04pm

A man who fell into the water at Cassette Rapids, south of Fort Smith, on Monday has been rescued and is recovering in hospital.

The unidentified individual fell into the water at around 4:30pm, Cabin Radio understands. The rapids are near Fort Fitzgerald, a northern Alberta community 20 minutes southeast of Fort Smith.

Reports suggest the man spent a number of hours in or near the water before being brought to safety.


Resident Renée Rodgers, posting to a Fort Smith Facebook group on Monday, called for experienced paddlers to help parademics, firefighters, and RCMP at the scene.

Rodgers said the man was in the water near a sign warning of the rapids, having reportedly been unable to get out while trying to rescue his canoe.

On Tuesday, Town of Fort Smith Mayor Lynn Napier confirmed eight first responders from the municipality were sent to assist RCMP. The man was located on a small island in the middle of the rapids by firefighters at around 7pm.

Police struggled to reach the man, Napier said, adding the eventual rescue came with the help of local bystanders using a boat, shortly before midnight.

“It’s getting pretty chilly at night and we’re glad it had the ending that it did,” Napier said.


Napier said the man “was OK” at the time of being admitted to the town’s health centre, despite the ordeal.

Cassette Rapids, one of four main sets of Slave River rapids in the region, provides “dramatic whitewater vistas” according to a Town description of the area.

“Though they appear from shore to be less impressive than the Pelican rapids, kayakers will beg to differ,” a page on the Town’s website reads.