A Letter From Curtis
Curtis James Brown is a name you probably know now because of what happened last weekend.
A lot of folks were quick to judge and point fingers and even call names.
From his own Facebook page which he is encouraging you to share — his story.
Against my poor mothers wishes, I have been doing “river runs” all year round for as long as I have been able to swim. When the water gets colder I change into thicker, warmer wetsuits. The suit I wear keeps me nice and toasty, and most importantly very buoyant. The fins I wear help me rocket through the water with ease. This is something I feel very comfortable doing. On the coast we would do frequent long distance swims, sometimes the seals would literally chase you in the water. A couple of years ago I took an outdoor winter wilderness survival course. Asides from surviving on my own for 3 days with 1200 calories of food, I took an ice water rescue course. Over the past 10 years Ive had the opportunity on my own time to sky dive, mountain climb, bungee jump, ride down the Bolivian death road, detonate dynamite while in a Bolivian mine, and countless other extreme adventures beyond the military. My family and friends know me as an adventurer. It makes me happy.
Last Saturday night I decided to do what I have done for the past several years, an ice floe float down. A family member wanted to see what it was like, so I picked up a go pro and I hit the water. I did 3 separate float downs and called it a night. Excited with my new go pro purchase I quickly went home, made a video and put it on youtube for my family and friends to see what it was like.
The next day my friend forwarded me a Lambton alert. It stated they were searching for a man seen on an ice floe under the bridge. My heart sank. I called the OPP right away to let them know that I was the person they were looking for and that I was safe. I felt terrible knowing that these wonderful search and rescue workers were out putting themselves in danger all night for me.
I work 6 days a week and I wanted to do another float down sunday afternoon. A last bit of fun before my busy week ahead. Having learned my lesson, I let the authorities know that I would be in the water for a couple of hours, and that I would call them when I was finished.
Before my last run a reporter eager for a story asked me a few questions, which I would find out to be worded improperly. I let the reporter know that I was a trained military diver in hopes of displaying that I was proficient in the water. I specifically told him it was not a military exercise or military training. When I told him I was “training” I was referring to cardiovascular exercise. Yet his article made it seem as though I was on a military exercise. This is where the problem started.
The mayor, without the whole story, wrote letters to my CO and to the Minister of National Defence demanding an apology. As I was not on a military exercise or in military uniform this action is unwarranted. This caused me to be held back from a dive exercise in Halifax the following week.
My float down takes approximately 5 minutes from the time of entry to the time I exit the water. During those quiet 5 minutes I never heard a person call out to see if I was ok. If the person who so quickly called 911 had stuck around for more than 5 minutes (assuming they saw me when I first got in the water) they would have seen me exit the water safe and sound.
I am sorry that the search and rescue personnel had to conduct a search. It was not my intent. I have friends and family in almost all branches of our emergency services and I can’t express enough how grateful I am to have these fantastic public services available.