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

Edward Koepke holds up a rainbow trout he caught at Dewar Lake. (Photo submitted)
Ice fishing at Dewar Lake on the chopping block

Ministry staff are eyeing the popular spot for a brood lake

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

Williams Lake RCMP have announced a new officer in charge, Myron Friesen, of Grande Prairie, Alta. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Longtime Williams Lake RCMP officer in charge leaving, new replacement announced

Insp. Jeff Pelley has been with the Williams Lake RCMP since 2016

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
RCMP investigating suspicious trailer found abandoned in Cache Creek

Hazardous materials believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs were found

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

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

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

Most Read