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Mom Says Daughter ‘Would Still Be Alive Today’ If She Was Wearing Flotation Device
“I believe if my daughter had a flotation device, she would be alive today,” are the words of Jeannie Reuter, as she stood near the place where the body of her daughter was pulled out from the water.
Her 16-year-old daughter Sarah Lumsden, drowned after the snowmobile she was riding fell through the ice on Lake Scugog near Port Perry, 82 kilometers northeast of Toronto. Reuter says “She may have missing fingers, missing toes from frostbite, but she’d be alive.”
Reuter is now urging a regulation requiring flotation devices for all snowmobile riders. She’s also asking for additional policing on frozen lakes.
Her teenage daughter was riding a snowmobile last month, when it went into the water. The driver was rescued, but Lumsden was pulled under and her body was recovered later that night.
Currently, there are no laws enforcing the wearing of flotation suits while snowmobiling in Ontario.
“We recommend it to the public,” said Sgt. Byron Newell of the OPP’s SAVE unit “It’s not a law, however we feel it’s the best practice to do that.”
Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca mentioned that the ministry is open for discussions, however they wouldn’t commit to making changes in snowmobile regulation.
“This is a tragic incident and the ministry will continue to look at ways to improve,” he said.
The ministry’s website says:
“Anyone over the age of 16 with a valid Ontario driver’s licence can drive a snowmobile.
Anyone over the age of 12 with a motorized snow vehicle operator licence can drive on snowmobile trails.
Anyone under the age of 12 can drive a snowmobile on private property.”
Lumsden’s snowmobile was travelling off a marked trail, something the Federation of Snowmobile Clubs of Ontario strongly discourages. The federation recommends only using routes which have been marked and identified as available to the public.
Reuter does not only want to see floatation devices but also wants to see snowmobile drivers licensed in a similar way to boaters, who need to pass a test to get a licence.