Elk Valley RCMP and Fernie Search and Rescue are commending the kayakers for not trying to cross the dangerous waters without their boats.
At approximately 12:45 pm on Wednesday, July 11, RCMP were contacted by a visiting fly-fisher who had seen three kayaks and two paddles drift towards him on the river.
Although he did not see anyone in the area, police say he walked a kilometre upstream to find five people stranded on a gravel bar on the Elk River - two adults and three children.
The fisher phoned RCMP for assistance, who promptly sent Fernie Search and Rescue to the scene.
A helicopter was able to bring the five people back to safety using a long line rescue.
According to Elk Valley RCMP, one of the kayakers' boats overturned in the strong current, causing the rest of the group to come to that person's aid. In the process, the entire group ended up in the water.
Fernie Search and Rescue says the kayakers did the right thing by staying on the gravel bar and waiting for help rather than trying to cross the fast-moving water on their own.
The five were all wearing life jackets.
- David Opinko / with files from Elk Valley RCMP