River rescuers recognized for bravery

Kegan Madeira and Lorne Muth of Chilliwack were honoured by Mayor Sharon Gaetz in council chambers Tuesday

Mayor Sharon Gaetz greets river survivor Natisha Dunn

Chilliwack council showed its appreciation the two river “angels” who risked their own lives last month to save the life of someone in trouble.

Kegan Madeira and Lorne Muth of Chilliwack were honoured by Mayor Sharon Gaetz in council chambers Tuesday with a certificate of recognition for bravery.

The two friends were involved in rescuing a young mom who found herself stranded on a logjam over the Vedder River.

Natisha Dunn, 23, of Surrey, had been floating downriver in July in an inflatable dingy with boyfriend, Carlos, on the Vedder River. She ended up clinging to a log for dear life after her dingy was punctured, and deflated.

Medeira jumped off his tube to assist, holding Dunn out of the water, just as her energy started to fade.

“We would hope that anyone would do the same thing we did,” Madeira told the Progress last month. “We didn’t think much of it at the time.”

But Dunn said she couldn’t hold on much longer. She was exhausted and bruised, and felt like she would go under if she had not been rescued at that point by Muth and Madeira.

“We’re really happy to see you, and happy that you are here,” Mayor Gaetz said when she met and shook hands with Dunn at City Hall.

The mayor said she had read all about the harrowing river incident in the Progress.

“I thanked God for a life that had been saved, and wanted to thank the pair who were responsible,” said Gaetz.

Dunn is the mom of a four-year-old, and she shared how she tragically lost her own dad in an accident when she herself was only four. So she said her will to survive that day on the Vedder river was very strong.

Madeira and Muth grabbed Dunn and crawled to safety over the logs. Dunn and her sister Ashley were ferried to safety on the other side of the river, and the Chilliwack tubers just got back into the river and continued downriver.

“Everyone was in shock,” Dunn told the Progress at the time. “My sister’s friend said to me ‘Seriously. you cheated death.'”

Dunn figures she may never step foot in a river again after her scary ordeal.

“People don’t know how dangerous the river is. I didn’t realize,” Dunn said.

The inspirational wrist bands the mayor handed out read: “You Only Live Once.”

“But you lived twice,” she said to the young mom from Surrey. “So I hope you live your life well.”

Gaetz called the rescuers “angels” as they came along at the precisely right time. There were four or five angels in all, counting the people in the speed boat who showed up to ferry them back to shore.

“This is a small certificate of our appreciation from the city,” Gaetz said, calling the rescuers up from the audience this week to present them with their certificates.

“For putting your own safety at risk, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” she said. “I wish I could give you the keys to the city. But what we have to offer is our congratulations and our thanks.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/chwkjourno

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