First responders are warning the public against cliff-jumping after an injured man was pulled out of the Kettle River near Cascade Falls Sunday, July 11.
The man, roughly 50 years old, jumped into the river from a roughly six-metre ledge, dislocating his right shoulder when he hit the water at around 3:15 p.m, according to Joe Geary, chief of Christina Lake Fire and Rescue. The man was saved by nearby swimmers who managed to get him onto the rocky shore.
That stretch of the river, including and especially the Kettle River Trestle Bridge, is a popular draw among summer daredevils. “We’re there at least once a year, rescuing someone who’s jumped off the bridge or one of the nearby cliffs,” Geary told The Gazette Sunday evening.
Taking the plunge might sound like fun, but Geary said it invites “a serious risk of drowning or some other horrible injury.” The current around the bridge is swift enough to carry people into the nearby falls, as happened in a July 2012 tubing accident that drowned a Christina Lake couple and another man.
Geary said the man was in tremendous pain as volunteer firefighters hoisted him up the rocky slope using a rescue basket tied to climbing ropes. A waiting ambulance crew then took him to Grand Forks’ Boundary Hospital, Geary said.
The Interior Health Authority saw more than one-third of accidental drownings in B.C. between 2008 and 2016, according to a 2017 report by the BC Coroners Service. In that time, the report attributes at least one drowning per year to “jumping from height,” making for a total of 18 related deaths.
The largest proportion of period drownings (around 24 per cent) happened in people between the ages of 19 and 29, with the second-highest (17 per cent) among people aged 50 to 59, according to the report.