Winnipeg woman receives award for rescuing teens on Lake Manitoba

WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg woman is being honoured for her heroics after saving two teens last year on Lake Manitoba.

Renata Bandel is being recognized by the Carnegie Hero Fund by being awarded the Carnegie Medal.

The award is given to civilians in Canada and the United States who risk their lives to save or try to save another person.

Bandel was one of 18 people to receive the award and only one of two Canadians on the list.

“I was very excited and honoured to be receiving such a prestigious award. I never dreamed that that would happen,” said Bandel.

She is receiving the award for her efforts in saving two 17-year-old girls at Lake Manitoba on June 3, 2020.

Bandel said is was a perfect day to be outside and she and her family went to Delta beach.

While there, she said three teenage girls decided to go into the water on a raft, noting they were all wearing life jackets.

“They got swept out towards the middle of the lake and could not paddle back against the strong winds and waves.”

Bandel said one of the girls stayed on the raft and was eventually able to call 911.

“Two of the girls decided to try and swim towards shore rather than stay on the raft and they continued to get swept further and further from shore.”

Bandel said while she was playing in the water with her family, she was told that someone was in the water calling for help.

“I sent my niece back to shore and swam towards the first girl. She was so relieved, but also terrified for her other two friends.”

Bandel said she brought the girl back to shore where emergency crews had arrived.

However, Bandel said she couldn’t just stand around waiting for emergency crews to find where the other girl was.

“I decided to go into the deep water and maybe see or hear her and then my sister caught my attentionā€¦ I saw the little red dot.”

She said she started swimming to the second girl, battling the wind and the choppy water, but was eventually able to reach her.

Bandel started to bring the second girl back to shore and that’s when the RCMP water rescue boat came and they got on board, and went and found the third girl who was still floating on the raft.

“I’m so glad that I was in the right place at the right time.”

One of the girls was taken to hospital and treated for hypothermia.

Bandel said she isn’t sure what sparked her to jump to action, but she knew she had to help.

“I think it was pure adrenalineā€¦I didn’t notice the temperature (of the water), I didn’t notice being tired, I didn’t notice anything. I just locked in on the girls and swam to them.”

The Carnegie Medal has been given out to more than 10,000 people and the award is given out four times a year.

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