Alex MacBean, right, loves the thrill of jumping from a cliff. But after an incident over the weekend he says he will be taking further safety precautions the next time he jumps. (Pictured is MacBean jumping with a friend the week prior). (Submitted/Alex MacBean)

Victoria man says cliff-jumping incident at Thetis Lake a ‘wake-up call’

27-year-old man says he jumped in lake to help rescue unconscious cliff-jumper on Sunday

A man who says he was involved in a rescue at Thetis Lake on Sunday says more caution is needed amongst those who cliff jump.

Alex MacBean, 27, of Victoria, says he had gone to Thetis Lake alone that day, hoping to enjoy some swimming and cliff-jumping himself, when he ran into to two men around his age. They were drinking he said, and quite intoxicated. The trio was standing atop a popular diving cliff known as ‘Big Ben’ when things went wrong.

READ ALSO: Years of ‘horrific, violent accidents’ at Thetis Lake prompt plea to public

“One of the guys went for a flip and he over-rotated it,” MacBean said, adding that it took about eight seconds for the man to surface in a face-down ‘dead man’ float.

“He didn’t hit anything he just didn’t hit the water right,” MacBean said. “If you don’t land right, the water starts to turn into concrete the higher up you get.

“I was already on my toes, ready to jump in after him…as soon as he started going under water I had to jump.”

Opening his eyes underwater, MacBean said he could see the man about three feet in front of him and three feet below. He managed to pull the man to the surface and enlist the help of some nearby paddle boarders.

“I couldn’t check his breathing or his pulse and he was unresponsive. I was panicking a little bit,” MacBean said. “Thankfully he came to, and he didn’t have any water in his lungs. He didn’t know what was going on but the paddle boarders came over and we loaded him and paddled him to shore.”

READ ALSO: Woman in serious condition after nearly drowning at Thetis Lake Park in View Royal

MacBean said he doubled back to get his belongings and by the time he returned, paramedics were loading up the cliff-jumper, who he recalls being responsive at that time.

“It was a miracle that he was okay,” MacBean said. “This happening put a lot of stuff in perspective. You should always have a spotter and you should always have a plan and obviously not be drinking.

“One – you’re more likely to have an accident and two – you’re more likely to become unconscious.”

MacBean called the incident a “wake-up call” and said he won’t ever be cliff-jumping again without checking the depth of the water below, having an exit strategy and having a spotter already in the water.

“I had became complacent over time and I want to take this incident and share it as strong reminder of the real dangers of this sport and how you can mitigate them,” he said. “Unfortunately simply asking people not to jump isn’t going to stop them. But knowing the importance to to have a spotter drastically minimizes the risk and could potentially save a life.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Proposed Sooke gun law sent back to administration. Again.

Fifth time lucky for firearms and bow bylaw?

Help support the Sooke food bank by sharing some Christmas cheer

The Christmas season is spreading it’s cheer throughout the community and the… Continue reading

Police impound 19 vehicles for excessive speed on Malahat

Excessive speed is classified as going more than 40 km/h over the limit in that stretch

Beaches near Sidney’s Tsehum Harbour to receive first clean up in years

Peninsula Streams Society hopes to attract 50 volunteers for the Saturday event

‘A loud sonic boom’: Gabriola Island residents recount fatal plane crash

Area where the plane went down is primarily a residential neighbourhood, RCMP say

Penticton RCMP warn of new ‘porting’ scam that puts internet banking, online accounts at risk

Two-factor verification has been the go-to way to keep online accounts secure

Thunberg ‘a bit surprised’ to be Time ‘Person of the Year’

‘I could never have imagined anything like that happening,’ she said in a phone interview

Toronto Raptors, Don Cherry top the list of Canadians’ Google searches in 2019

‘Champions’ was the theme of the last year, Google said

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

The Grinch who Stole a Hedge: Security camera captures Chilliwack tree theft

RCMP arrives as person calmly walks away with tree in downtown area

The Russell Troupe finds a comfort zone in small Island community

Family gathering with two parents and five kids a common scene around Chemainus

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Most Read