Arrowsmith Search and Rescue crews rescued a man from the water on Saturday, Dec. 12 in Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. (Screencap via tiktok/@quinnteechma)

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue crews rescued a man from the water on Saturday, Dec. 12 in Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. (Screencap via tiktok/@quinnteechma)

Rescue crews save man from raging waters in Vancouver Island provincial park

Arrowsmith SAR team found man clinging to a log between two waterfalls

A lucky man has Arrowsmith Search and Rescue crews to thank after a harrowing rescue operation on Saturday afternoon in Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park.

Arrowsmith SAR was called to the park on Dec. 12 at approximately 3 p.m., to rescue the man, stranded in the middle of the frigid river. The man was trapped on a log, between two sets of waterfalls.

Nick Rivers, search and rescue manager with Arrowsmith SAR, went into the water himself for the rescue operation, which took between 25 and 30 minutes to complete. A social media video of the daring rescue, posted by Quinn Teechma, captured the incident on video.

“We got there and took an assessment,” said Rivers. “My safety, of course, was compromised being down in that environment, but through training and some other contingencies, we were able to mitigate the risks as much as possible, but you never can get rid of it completely.”

Before being lowered into the water, Rivers said a rope system had been set up to ensure that he couldn’t go over the next set of waterfalls if he were to lose his footing. After being lowered down, Rivers was eventually able to get below the man by swimming against the current and kicking off the rocks. Almost at the same time, Rivers said, the man was no longer able to hold on and lost his footing, falling into the water and heading towards the lower falls.

Rivers was able to quickly jump off the log and successfully catch the man, who was then only five feet away from the lower waterfalls. With the rope tied around Rivers, he held onto the man as his team from above pulled them both to safety and out of the water.

READ MORE: Arrowsmith Search and Rescue seeks public assistance paying for new $1.2M hall project

“There were a few times that I ended up under the water for a bit longer than I wanted to,” said Rivers. “At one point he was actually holding me underwater, not purposefully of course. It was just the position of him. And I couldn’t let go, otherwise he was going to go over the next waterfall.”

Without the use of his hands, Rivers said, he had to figure out how to get his head above water to breathe, all without letting go of the man, a task he considered “pretty tough.”

“I have been involved in some pretty intense rescues in the past, but swift water is undoubtedly the most dangerous part that we do. Water flowing at that rate, I can’t say that I’ve been involved in anything that intense before,” said Rivers.

After being safely pulled up to land, the man was attended to by BC Ambulance personnel and taken to hospital. Rivers said he did not know of any physical injuries to the man, other than hypothermia.

“When you’re lowered down into a canyon like that, and the water is thundering through it, no one can hear you call. No one can hear you whistle. No one can hear you radio. You’re alone down there.”

According to Rivers, Arrowsmith SAR has “no idea” how the man wound up in the pool, as there are no trails or anything that can “get you in there.”

Via Twitter, Arrowsmith SAR said “Dashwood FD, Coombs/Hilliers FD, BCAS and RCMP were also involved in the rescue. Effective multiple agency co-ordinated response is an important part of search and rescue in British Columbia.”

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Search and Rescue

 

Nick Rivers of Arrowsmith Search and Rescue. (PQB News file photo)

Nick Rivers of Arrowsmith Search and Rescue. (PQB News file photo)

Just Posted

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

Calvin Dickson photo.
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for East Kootenay

Conditions favourable for the development of thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

After being forced to cancel in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Wasa Triathlon is being organized for August. Bulletin file photo.
Information released for Gerick Sports Wasa Triathlon scheduled for August

In 2020 the COVID pandemic forced the Gerick Sports Wasa Triathlon to… Continue reading

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read