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Fargo man shares safety warning after his canoe capsized in the Red River

Published: Apr. 10, 2021 at 3:17 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -We walk along it, we fish in it and we take the boat, kayak or canoe down it. The Red River is a beautiful part of our community.

But as Curt Ficenec found out, getting on the water can also be very dangerous.

“It was a beautiful day. We were just going up the river, enjoying a canoe ride,” he says. “I heard something. At first, I thought it was a low-flying airplane. All of a sudden, I realized there was a boat coming around the corner.”

Living along the river for 30 years, Ficenec spends a lot of time on it. This is the earliest he’s ever been on the water, but he didn’t expect to go swimming.

“By the time they saw us, they were creating a three to four-foot wave that capsized our canoe,” he says.

As people are eager to hit the water, it’s still dangerously cold. About 30 percent of deadly accidents happen during the cold-water period each year.

“I was thinking when that canoe was going over because it’s still early April, I thought that water is going to be awfully cold and I’m not a good swimmer.”

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself. You should always carry safety gear and wear a life jacket, let people know where you’re going and when you’ll be back and watch the weather to avoid the wind or storms.

“I think it’s any time during the year at all,” Ficenec says.” Just remember, there’s always going to be people out there that aren’t paying attention.”

In the case of the Ficenec’s, Curt and his son made it to shore safely. Still, he’s sharing his reminder to play it safe when you get out on the water.

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