Alcohol, swimming believed to be culprit for Wednesday’s near-drowning at Gorge

Emergency crews called to scene at Gorge Bridge to treat at least one person pulled from water

An afternoon of drinking beside the Gorge Waterway led to an ill-advised swim which ended up with one man nearly drowning.

The man, a 53-year-old from Victoria, was resuscitated after being pulled out at the Gorge Narrows.

“There had been a group of people on the dock who were consuming alcohol,” said Saanich Police Sgt. Jereme Leslie. “There was some conversation about going into the water and, when two men entered the water, one did not resurface.”

A passerby did rescue the swimmer who did not resurface. He remains in critical condition after a live-saving operation by first responders that included CPR and the use of a defibrillator.

Esquimalt Fire, Saanich Police and B.C. Ambulance Services shut down part of the Gorge Bridge (Tillicum Road), in responding to the 911 call at about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The incident took place near the Gorge narrows where currents are extremely swift this time of year.

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