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

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

(File Photo)
Lights, camera, action: IFF Film Club launches monthly discussions

The club meets virtually every second Tuesday of the month to chat about indie films

Fernie Delivery is the valley’s first delivery company. (Photo Contributed)
Fernie’s first delivery service kicks off

Fernie Delivery gives residents the chance to get any local goods delivered to their doorstep

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
‘Horrible’: Number of positive tests in Elk Valley on the rise

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Flags line the National Mall towards the Capitol Building as events get underway for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

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

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

Most Read