Fisherman hoisted to safety from swollen Capilano River

Stranded fisherman rescued

A fisherman had to be hoisted to safety from the Capilano River, Tuesday morning in North Vancouver.

About 8:40 a.m., first responders were dispatched to the river when water levels started to rise, stranding a fisher on a sandbar below the Capilano River Bridge on Highway 1.

“It was determined that the best rescue was to do a pick-off off the bridge deck,” said assistant fire chief David Dales. “With West Vancouver Fire [& Rescue] doing downstream containment, as rescuers for the rescuers, the district deployed a technical rescue off the bridge, lowered a firefighter down and then secured the fisherperson and then brought him back up to the bridge deck.”

The subject was a man in his 50s and “not from the area,” Dales said.

Conducting the rope rescue from the bridge required one lane of the highway to be closed. Crews got Metro Vancouver staff to close valves on the Cleveland Dam, which slows the water flow down below, although it does take some time.

The Capilano has a habit of becoming swollen without warning. Dales said crews are called to the sandbar below the bridge about 15 times per year, almost all of them during the salmon season between September and November.

“We might be having three millimetres an hour of precipitation in North Van and we could be having 45 up river,” he said. “All of a sudden, very quickly, they're just trapped on the sandbar, and it's just their exit which has been eliminated. … If you are operating in the North Vancouver environment, just be prepared for rapid weather change, and that includes water level.”

More BC News