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Driver dies after veering into icy lake
A 58-year-old Salmon Arm woman died Wednesday after her Jeep TJ lost control along Highway 97 and veered into Wood Lake.
Lake Country RCMP received a report that a vehicle had gone off the highway into the lake at 1:10 p.m.
Witnesses reported the jeep was travelling northbound on Highway 97 when it began to fishtail. The driver was unable to regain control of her vehicle before it left the roadway and became submerged in Wood Lake.
A group of passing motorists attempted to pull the vehicle from the water with use of ropes and chains attached to a commercial truck, but the ropes snapped causing the jeep to roll back into the icy water.
The chains were again attached to the vehicle as RCMP members arrived on scene. The vehicle was stabilized while two police officers entered the freezing water and made several unsuccessful attempts to extricate the driver.
With continued assistance from the motorists, police were able to remove the driver and transfer her to a waiting ambulance.
She was rushed to hospital, but could not be resuscitated.
Highway 97 between Winfield and Oyama was closed in both directions for the duration of the investigation as traffic was diverted along the east side of Wood Lake from Oyama to Winfield via Oyama Road to Woodsdale Road.
According to an undisclosed report, the vehicle was about 90 per cent submerged in the water about 15 feet off the Wood Lake shoreline, opposite Ponderosa Road.
At least two others were reported to be getting treatment at the scene for hypothermia. Police have confirmed the driver was the only person in the vehicle when it crashed into the lake.
Central Okanagan Traffic Services members continue to assist the BC Coroner’s Service in this investigation.