'Close community' of anglers reflects on deadly Capilano River tragedy
NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Some anglers are returning to the shores of the Capilano River just two days after a ferocious torrent of water was released unexpectedly from the Cleveland Dam.
At Cable Pool, a popular fishing spot downstream from the dam, the deadly incident is weighing heavily on people’s minds.
“It’s a very close community, everybody knows each other from fishing,” said Ian Brown.
Brown was at the river Thursday, just an hour before a gate controlling the flow of water into the Capilano River was somehow lowered during regular maintenance, sending a wall of water that swept away several people who were fishing nearby.
One man died while two people had to be rescued and another two managed to reach the shore on their own.
A 27-year-od man is still missing and police vessels and the RCMP dive team continued to search for him near the mouth of the river by Ambleside Park Saturday.
Brown said he was stunned when he found out what happened later that day.
“I was shocked, I wasn’t expecting that obviously. I’ve been fishing here for a while and it’s been pretty tame compared to that,” he said.
Some observed a thinner crowd of people fishing than usual Saturday.
“Usually it’s packed,” said Jordan Gartner, who’s been coming to the river for seven years. “I think the incident might deter a few people, but I think people will be a little safer, always have a plan B or an exit strategy in mind.”
On Thursday, Gartner was planning on coming to Capilano River, but decided not to, a choice that may have saved his life.
“It’s a little unnerving because the spots I would’ve gone to were pretty isolated in the canyon and if a lot of water came, it could’ve been deadly,” he said.
The dam has no alarm system or sirens, the only warning for people using the river below is a series of signs.
Some say they would like to see Metro Vancouver do more.
“If it malfunctions, there’s got to be some kind of an alarm system throughout the river. It’s not that long, it’s not that big of a stretch of river,” Gartner said.
The gate of the Cleveland Dam remains locked as officials investigate what caused it to suddenly release that violent flood of water.