Wednesday evening’s storm caught some people in Kempenfelt Bay off guard, but quick thinking by Barrie police and assistance from a few helpful citizens made the ending a lot better than it could've been.
City police received a call at 7:28 p.m., yesterday, about two people stranded in a raft approximately 150 metres off Centennial Beach along Barrie's lakeshore.
Because the police department's marine unit had not yet arrived, responding officers had to think fast.
They found 32-year-old Jeff Morin and some friends hanging out on their boats docked at the Lakeshore Drive marina.
The wind had picked up considerably when Barrie police approached Morin and explained the life-and-death situation.
“The winds must have been 100 kilometres an hour when the fire trucks and police showed up," Morin said.
"A police officer came running up to the boat and said there were two people stuck out in the lake and asked if we could take them out there,” he added.
The wind was so strong that as the group pulled out in their 40-foot boat, they were almost pushed into the other vessels parked around them.
“We rushed as fast as we could, had the boat untied and out into the bay in less than a minute,” Morin said. “It was extremely dangerous leaving and, to be honest, I would have never gone out there with the way the waves were had it not been for this incident.”
Morin said there was near zero visibility as he stood at the front of the boat and yelled directions to his friend who was driving.
The two women, aged 21 and 18, were spotted and the team rushed to get them into the boat.
Morin said he believed they were floating around Centennial Beach when the wind and waves grabbed them and took them out to deeper waters.
After rescuing them, police then asked the four friends if they could head over to a kiteboarder who was also in distress off Johnson's Beach.
A 37-year-old man was safely rescued from the water with his kiteboard.
He and the two women were transported to shore to be checked out by paramedics.
Morin said he knows people will call him and his friends heroes, but said it was certainly an “eventful but scary day.”
Morin said he doesn’t know whether they did anthing heroic, but he did stress one thing to BarrieToday.
“If we were five minutes longer, you would have been writing a different story. They wouldn't have made it,” he said.
Barrie police communications co-ordinator Peter Leon said Wednesday’s double rescue is something everyone should take pride in.
"Last night’s rescue on Kempenfelt Bay is proof that when the public and the police work together, the end result is something our entire city can be proud of,” Leon said.