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

Vaccinations are set to resume in the small community of Tatchet, according to Lake Babine Nation’s Deputy Chief. (Black Press Media file photo)
Lake Babine Nation vaccine rollout resumes after a short pause

A COVID positive test within the care team had put the vaccinations on hold

Cheslatta Chief Corrina Leween received one of the COVID-19 vaccines on the Southside, on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
COVID-19 vaccination begins in Burns Lake

Senior population, health care workers and First Nations among the first to get the vaccine

Sasquatch sighting. (Omineca Ski Club photo/Lakes District News)
Sasquatch on the loose at Omineca Ski Club

Head out to the trails to see if you can spot it; a tongue-in-cheek response from the club President

Two books in particular became quite popular at the start of the pandemic — Soap and Water Common Sense, The definitive guide to viruses’ bacteria, parasites, and disease and The Great Influenza, The story of the deadliest pandemic in history. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake Public Library lent 20,916 books in 2020

Gained 67 new patrons throughout the year

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read