The Parksville and Qualicum Beach fire departments assisted in a rescue at the French Creek train trestle Thursday, Aug. 17. — PVFD photo

Two girls rescued from French Creek train trestle

Parksville and Qualicum Beach fire departments called out to help young climbers in French Creek

Two girls found themselves in a precarious situation Thursday (Aug. 17).

The two girls, an 11- and 12-year-old got stuck while climbing on the French Creek trestle, according to a Parksville Volunteer Fire Department Facebook post.

Parksville fire chief Marc Norris told The NEWS they got the call shortly after 6 p.m. on Aug. 17. Qualicum Beach Fire Department, Oceanside RCMP and B.C. Ambulance Service also assisted.

Norris said when they got there, the girls were about 30 feet up on the trestle.

“They could have been quite a bit higher, so luckily they weren’t too much higher, but they were high enough,” he said. “A fall from 30 feet is a fall that could kill you.”

Norris said the girls called 911 themselves.

“They’d climbed up on it and come across — walking across on the large wooden beams,” Norris said. “They got to a point where they got scared. They were fairly high up and in a fairly precarious position and they weren’t comfortable going back or forward.”

The French Creek trestle, which was part of the E&N Railroad, is located near Drew Road. French Creek is also the border between the Parksville and Qualicum Beach departments, Norris said. The two departments, he said, spent some time trying to locate the girls from the location they gave.

He estimated the trestle is close to 100 feet tall at some points as it crosses the river. He said it’s not common for the department to get a rescue call from people climbing on the underside of the trestle.

“The trestle is not built for people to use to cross the creek, and certainly, not to climb on the underside of it,” he said.

Norris also said it puts the first responders in danger since they had to deploy a ladder and rope system.

As a word of caution, Norris said, “stick to the trails and admire the trestle.”

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