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

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Sooke council has sent a letter to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy calling for a province-wide ban on the use of rat poison. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke calls for ban on rat poison across B.C.

Letter of support follows similar move by City of North Vancouver

What was previously thought to be a flu shot fraud was actually a booking error, West Shore RCMP confirmed Jan. 27. (Black Press Media file photo)
UPDATED: Flu shot fraud actually booking error by Colwood London Drugs

West Shore RCMP previously said error was work of fraudsters

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed as Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre will once again be transformed into temporary sheltering for 45 individuals starting in March. (Courtesy of the B.C. Government)
Temporary shelter to resume at Victoria Save-On-Foods arena in March

BC Housing signed lease with GSL Group from Feb. 1 to May 30

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Most Read