05/08/2012 03:29 EDT | Updated 07/08/2012 05:12 EDT

Log-jammed rivers too risky for recreation

A Prince George woman is warning people that rivers in the area are too dangerous for recreational use, following the death of two women on Sunday.

Christy Schwing, 31, and Carolyn Simpson, 43, of Prince George, drowned after their jetboat hit a log-jam and capsized Sunday afternoon. Two other men on board were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The accident happened on Willow River, east of Prince George, but the problem persists on rivers all around the city, says Helen Schwartz who lives on Mud River, west of Prince George.

Mud River, she said, meanders back and forth and is full of log-jams, making it very dangerous.

"Looking out my kitchen window, I can see these big logs go floating by and I've often thought, 'If somebody comes around one of the corners in that river, the river is very very crooked. It could be a catastrophe.'"

And tragedies have happened, says retired RCMP officer Gary Godwin. He recalls a fatal incident on the Salmon Valley River, south of Prince George, in April 1992.

"The rivers were very swollen," said Godwin. "This was a power boat running up and down the river, and it was quite a large power boat, and the fellow that was handling it was very skilled."

But Godwin says those skills didn't help when the man hit a log-jam. The boat operator died but family members who were also on board survived.

Schwartz hopes people heed her warning and stay off the river — or at the very least, wear life-jackets.