RIVERSIDE – A man and woman from Lombard swam to safety March 29 after the canoe they were paddling tipped and sunk in the Des Plaines River.
A Riverside police sergeant was walking from the police department’s satellite station about 2:50 p.m. when he observed the individuals in the water. They were able to get out of the water and walk to the river bank on the First Avenue side of the river. The canoe sunk to the bottom of the river, according to a Riverside Police Department news release.
Paramedics were called to evaluate the individuals. They refused medical treatment and were somewhat uncooperative with police, the release stated.
An investigation determined that the pair were headed upstream, and as they were paddling, the canoe filled with water and sunk to the bottom of the river. The two were able to swim to the shore on First Avenue. The boaters were a 26-year-old man and 23-year-old woman.
Riverside police did not attempt to recover the canoe. They may attempt to retrieve the canoe at a future date, the release stated.
“At this time of national crisis regarding COVID-19, it was not the time to be canoeing on the Des Plaines River,” Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said. “Additionally, this pair was also canoeing upstream, which made it extremely difficult for them to make any real progress. While they were technically not in violation of the governor’s executive order, I think it is wise that citizens refrain from doing these types of activities at a time when we are trying to social distance from one another to stop the spread of coronavirus. The individuals were advised to cease this activity in the future.”