Clean-up, looting after White Rock pier breaks apart

City officials to share storm-of-the-century ‘next steps’

Clean-up efforts to stem the impact of Thursday’s storm of the century on White Rock’s shoreline are underway.

Search and rescue crews said approximately 60 gas tanks were recovered by 8:30 p.m. from the wreckage of sailboats that were damaged or destroyed in the squalls that battered the waterfront and devastated the city’s 100-year-old pier.

It’s estimated just eight of approximately 30 boats that were moored at the dock survived.

“They’re all shattered,” RCM-SAR5 spokesman Dean Donnelly told Peace Arch News from the scene late Thursday.

“They were already under water when you were filming” the pier breaking apart.

READ MORE: VIDEO: White Rock pier destroyed by storm, stranded man rescued

READ MORE: Windstorm wallops Surrey, White Rock

High winds kicked up a vicious storm across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, at points gusting around 100 km/h.

Felling trees onto power lines, vehicles and homes, it left at least 300,000 in the dark for hours, and was one of the most severe storms BC Hydro has experienced in years, according to information on the utility’s website.

It reached its peak on White Rock’s waterfront around 2 p.m., when sailboats that broke loose from their moorings repeatedly battered the pier, causing it to break in half and stranding one man on the far end.

A Cormorant rescue helicopter was tasked from Victoria to rescue the 42-year-old, who was reportedly “purple” when crews got to him.

“He just kept getting hit by wave, after wave, after wave,” Donnelly said of the man’s hour-plus experience waiting for rescue.

As bystanders cheered, the man – who appeared in good spirits – was delivered to paramedics at the pierhead and taken to hospital.

“The city has taken measures to prevent access to the pier, which is obviously closed. Despite that, people continue to attempt to gain access,” White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Daryl Creighton told PAN by text. “The police will not be putting themselves at risk for someone making poor decisions.”

Creighton confirmed the issue continued “throughout the night.”

“Several people still gained access by climbing along the outside of the pier and then… over the rails. Several violation tickets were issued,” he said.

Police also responded to calls of “looting” of the damaged sailboats.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

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