A European tourist died after being swept over Elk Falls Monday morning.
A 42-year-old man lost his footing on the rocks and was carried down the river a short way and over the 25-metre falls, Sgt. Craig Massey of the Campbell River RCMP reported.
Campbell River Search and Rescue volunteers were involved in recovering the body from the canyon.
“Police do caution the public visiting this park area,” Sgt. Massey said. “The scenery is incredible and can often be distracting. Area users are reminded how in the space of one step you can move from dry rocks with solid footing to a wet and dangerous slide into the fast, running water.”
Police and Victim Services continue to assist the man’s family in dealing with this tragic accident. The name of the victim had not been released prior to press time.
Grant Cromer of Campbell River Search and Rescue said the man was deceased when swift water rescue technicians discovered him downstream from the falls. A helicopter was used to retrieve the body.
Cromer said this type of incident is becoming all too familiar.
“Sadly we have seen this scenario several times before; this is the fourth time in five years we have had to do a recovery in this section of river,” Cromer said. “It’s becoming a routine type of call for us, and we know exactly where and how to approach this situation because we have done it so many times in the past.”
Elk Falls is a popular hangout for swimmers in the summer as there are lots of interesting areas to explore, Cromer said, but the whole system from Moose Falls to Elk Falls has its own inherent dangers. While Monday’s incident may have been an accident, it’s a stark reminder to the public of the dangers of playing around water.
And the dangers are not limited to the public, search and rescue volunteers are put at risk in rescue or recovery operations.
“We put ourselves at risk every time we enter the water,” Cromer said. “A swift water tech was recently killed on a call in Nelson, and that is always in the back of our minds when we do something like this.”
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