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Man survives plunge over Marysville Falls

Search and Resue performs first ever technical rope rescue in Kimberley
Peter Reid of Kimberley Search and Rescue

Carolyn Grant

A local man who fell into Mark Creek and went over Marysville Falls survived the event. On Monday, July 1, Kimberley Search and Rescue performed a highly technical rope rescue to retrieve the man from the river, something that they train often, but had never before put into practice.

Peter Reid from Kimberley Search and Rescue says that they received a call about a missing man late Monday morning.

"He had failed to show up for work and we started a search," Reid says.

Crews walked along the river — which is still running quite quickly — and the man was located sitting on a rock further down the creek.

"He slipped into Mark Creek just above the falls, "Reid said. "He managed to ride the falls all the way down into the bottom pool, then float down towards the canyon where he was able to get up on a rock. We had to do a rope rescue to get him out."

Reid says the fact that the man was alive was miraculous.

"He shouldn't have survived — not with the falls running as they are, the log jams and rocks. It's incredible to survive a ride down the falls."

Reid says that KSAR has a rope rescue team that trains regularly, but they had never actually had to use it in a rescue before.

Rope rigging systems were set up on the canyon walls above the man, Reid said.

"One person repelled down and did a quick assessment. He was found to be in fairly good shape. We sent down a second line and a second person, then sent down a stretcher basket and pulled him up the vertical cliff."

Nine Kimberley Search and Rescue personnel and four from Cranbrook were in on the rescue. Normally a rescue like this would go to Fire Rescue, Reid said, but because it started with a search, SAR technicians took care of it.

"This is the first high angle, highly technical rope rescue done in Kimberley," Reid said.

Finding the victim alive was very satisfying, given the grueling few weeks for all area Search and Rescue people.

"It's been an amazingly busy string," Reid said. "We had the Bull River and Findlay Creek searches, then this one. We're very tired. But this one had a nice outcome."

On another light note, Reid says that while they were performing the rescue, rubber ducks that had escaped the finish line at the annual Food Bank Duck Race went floating by.

"While the team was down there, the ducks were floating by. Maybe we should have rescued them too."

And despite all the searches in the past few weeks, training goes on for the busy team.

"Ironically we are training rope rescue today," Reid said.