Campbell River Fire Rescue and BC Ambulance Service crews load an injured man into a basket stretcher on the rocks above Elk Falls on April 5. It’s believed the man slipped on the rocks and injured his leg, but the situation could have ended much more tragically, rescuers say. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River Fire Rescue and BC Ambulance Service crews load an injured man into a basket stretcher on the rocks above Elk Falls on April 5. It’s believed the man slipped on the rocks and injured his leg, but the situation could have ended much more tragically, rescuers say. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Rescuers retrieve injured man from rocks above Elk Falls

‘You’d be surprised how many times we get called for a rescue down there. Or a body recovery.’

One man is lucky to have escaped with his life yesterday at Elk Falls.

Just after 4 p.m. Tuesday (April 5) afternoon, Campbell River Fire Rescue was called to the falls to respond to a man with a “lower leg injury,” Capt. Reid Wharton said as he oversaw the rescue from one of the lookout points above the falls.

When they arrived on scene, they found the man lying prone on the rocks just a few metres from edge of the raging water, less than 20 metres from the falls themselves.

“The crew went down there with BCAS (BC Ambulance Service) and they’re doing some first aid on him, and then, as you can see, they’re going to put him in the basket stretcher and pull him up with the rope,” Wharton continues. “It’s called a low-angle rescue.”

They managed to retrieve the man safely, but the incident has prompted yet another warning about the dangers of not abiding by safety signage in the area.

Wharton expects the man slipped on the wet rocks and injured his leg badly enough that he could not get back up. But the situation could have ended much more tragically would it have happened just a few more feet closer to the rushing water.

“People don’t realize how slippery those rocks can be,” Wharton says. “There are signs all over the place down there telling people to please not go down on the rocks, and those signs are there for a reason.”

Wharton was clearly frustrated by the need, once again, for rescuers to put themselves at this kind of risk clambering around on the rocks above the falls to rescue someone in this situation.

“There’s people down there all the time,” he said, exasperated. “You’d be surprised how many times we get called for a rescue down there. Or a body recovery.”

Wharton says he’s been part of at least five of such “body recoveries” in his time with the department.

“Hydro’s gone around and put up all kinds of signs. I really wish people would adhere to them,” Wharton says. “Rotary did such a great job with the suspension bridge and the lookouts have such a great view of the falls, you don’t have to go down there on those rocks. I don’t understand it. What? For a better picture?”

After the man was in the basket stretcher, the crew pulled him up to the security fence and transformed the basket stretcher into an 0ff-road-style unit to bring him back to town for further medical treatment.

“Once they get him up to the fence there,” Wharton says, “you know, the one with all the signs on it that say not to go past here? They’ve got basically a big wheel they attach to the basket stretcher itself to get him back to the vehicles and back to town.”

Wharton says there were around 10 personnel working to get the man out of his situation, plus two BCAS attendants.

RELATED: Woman’s death at Elk Falls the latest tragedy at hazardous site

RELATED: Safety under scrutiny at Elk Falls following latest death



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Campbell Riverrescue

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

Just Posted

Some bystanders with fire extinguishers helped keep the fire under control. Photo courtesy Suzie Thomas
Bystanders keep fire from spreading near McIvor Lake turnoff

‘Just be vigilant and careful,’ says Campbell River fire chief

The Pier Street Farmers Market will once again take up residence on Sundays from May to Septmber at the parking lot across from the Community Centre in downtown Campbell River for 2021. Mirror File Photo
Pier Street Farmers Market returns to Cedar Street parking lot for 2021

…and it’s hoped that the addition of artisans this year will make it even better

Some recommendations from the Downtown Safety Select Committee have been approved by Campbell River City Council, including removing the glass stage covering at Spirit Square. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Council going ahead with removing Spirit Square stage covering

But mayor acknowledges need for ‘welcoming, warm place with support services’

A small fire on North Rendezvous Island is the first wildfire of the season in the Campbell River area. Officials are asking people to take caution when burning during these dry conditions. BC Wildfire Dashboard
‘Conditions are tricky at the moment’ warns Coastal Fire Centre

Small fire on North Rendezvous Island first of the season for Campbell River area

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read