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 pluck injured man from slippery rocks above Elk Falls

Rescuers warn people to obey signage after latest incident at towering cascade near Campbell River

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 continued. “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.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

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

Just Posted

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
PHOTOS: Vehicle driven into Saanich Walmart removed after two trapped workers rescued

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Jim Hogan is Ladysmith’s famed ‘Moon Boot Man’. (Submitted photo)
Ladysmith’s ‘Moon Boot Man’ over the moon with community support

Jim Hogan has been jogging Ladysmith’s streets with his signature Kangoo-Jump boots since 2002

Imogene Lim, a Vancouver Island University anthropology professor, has received a Province of B.C. Medal of Good Citizenship. (Black Press file)
VIU anthropology professor receives B.C. Good Citizenship medal

Imogene Lim’s work includes advocacy for establishing Chinese heritage sites

Berwick by the Sea resident Hilda Shilliday, 91, is ready to participate in the Grandmothers to Grandmothers’ Stride to turn the Tide fundraising event that runs April 11-25. Register on the event website for a fee of $20 which goes to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s work in Africa, then do any kind of exercise, log the time, distance or whatever and be eligible for a prize package. Photo contributed
91-year-old Vancouver Islander ready to Stride to Turn the Tide

Campbell River’s Hilda Shilliday encourages everyone to support African grandmothers

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards South Island film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Most Read