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

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

Hero reflects on harrowing rescue of man from raging Vancouver Island river

Nick Rivers rappelled into the Little Qualicum River to save a man clinging between two waterfalls

Two days after plucking a man from the frigid waters in Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park on Saturday, Dec. 12, Nick Rivers is definitely “feeling it” on Monday.

“I’m doing alright. Sore, but it comes with the territory,” said Rivers, search and rescue manager of Arrowsmith SAR and a Parksville business owner.

Rivers rappelled into the raging Little Qualicum River to rescue a man who was “clinging for life” to a log between two waterfalls. According to Rivers, the entire operation took 25 to 30 minutes to complete and the rescued man was taken to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.

The reception from the general public that Rivers received following the rescue has been all positive. He mentioned that since 6 p.m. yesterday, media inquiries have poured in, and he jokingly said he is “having a hard time keeping up with the fame.”

Rivers did not that being in the public’s eye does “bode well” for the Arrowsmith SAR’s current fundraiser for their new hall, saying that “the attention couldn’t hurt,” but he didn’t want to push the agenda. The group has asked for public assistance with the $1.2-million project, with member Stuart Kirk telling the PQB News the call volume has doubled over the last decade.

Typical rescue operations by Arrowsmith SAR throughout the year are predominantly on land, locating and rescuing lost hikers. Rivers said that water rescues only happen “once or twice a year” and that Saturday’s rescue was the first for 2020.

READ MORE: Rescue crews save man from raging Little Qualicum River waters

The rescued man has yet to reach out to Rivers, but he has learned the man is “now doing OK.”

Rivers’s advice for the public is to pay attention and to keep safety at the forefront during outdoor expeditions, and that “risks tend to be fairly obvious.”

According to their website, the Arrowsmith SAR coverage ranges from Cook Creek to Lanztville, to the east end of Cameron Lake to Jedidiah and Lasqueti Islands.

Rivers said he’s been involved in some “pretty intense rescues” in the past, but he can’t say that he’s experienced anything “that intense” before.

BC Search and Rescue Association treasurer Jim Harrison said “the outcome could have been quite a bit different.”

“In this case there was the anchorage there for the ropes, properly trained members that were trained in both rope rescue and swift water. If they were not available or if that site had been further away from their equipment and access… the team on-site might have made the decision not to go into the water.”

With winter rescues, Harrison said there are a number of safety considerations to take into account.

“Water temperature requires extra gear to ensure that members don’t get hypodermic,” he said. “And especially on the Island, with increased rain during the winter months, water levels can fluctuate. When water levels are high, log and other debris can wash down as well, which is always a major concern when in swift water.”

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

qualicum beachSearch and Rescue

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

 

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)

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

(File Photo)
Sparwood accepting submissions for 2021 Street Art Banner Program

Artwork depicting a love for Sparwood’s community and heritage will be accepted until Feb. 19

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

(File photo)
Interior Health declares COVID-19 outbreak at Teck’s Elk Valley operations over

48 cases were linked to three Teck locations in the Elk Valley

Joanna and Aysha Haines opened their business, Drift and Sonder, on Jan. 22. (Soranne Floarea)
New businesses popping up in Fernie despite pandemic headwinds

More businesses in Fernie have opened than closed their doors since the pandemic began

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Most Read