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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

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

Just Posted

Sara Guenther, 102-years-old is the first resident in Vanderhoof to have received the COVID-19 vaccine. (Northern Health photo)
Vanderhoof receives first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine

Long-term care residents at the Stuart Nechako Manor along with staff were vaccinated Friday.

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

Most Read