Fire department, RCMP urge use of life jackets after fishing tragedy on Capilano River
NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. - Firefighters and police in North Vancouver are urging people who spend time on the Capilano River to use life jackets, after a tragic fishing accident claimed the life of a man over the weekend.
According to RCMP, the man was fishing with three other friends Sunday afternoon near Cable Pool, not far from the fish hatchery, when a line got snagged.
RCMP say the man took a couple steps in to the river in an attempt to untangle the fishing line. It appears he slipped and was swept downstream.
Police say one of his friends jumped in to help but also ended up in trouble in the water.
Eighteen-year-old Danica Dragutinovic was walking near Cable Pool when she noticed the second fisherman.
By the time she reached the area where the men were, the second man was clinging to a rock in the river, his hip waders filled with water. The other man had already been swept further down the river.
She says another veteran fisherman who had been on shore grabbed a rope from his vehicle, and a group of about six people stepped in to help the second man.
"He was in a position where the water was really swift, and so some of the guys attached a rock to it and threw it in front of him," Dragutinovic said. "We got together the larger men, who were stronger, and were able to tug against the current."
Within about 10 minutes of the second man ending up in the water, he was brought safely to shore.
"He was really shaken up, he was cold and really exhausted," Dragutinovic, who provided first aid, told CTV News by phone.
The first man who was swept away did not survive.
It doesn't appear either of the men had been wearing life jackets.
"For the fisherman here today, the use of a personal flotation device may have been a difference-maker for the result we had," said Deputy Chief Wayne Kennedy with the District of North Vancouver Fire Department said Sunday.
The area along the Capilano River where the tragedy happened is a popular fishing spot, especially at this time of year when many anglers are fishing for salmon.
The area was filled with dozens of people fishing on Sunday, the vast majority of which were without life jackets.
"The waters in these rivers are extremely powerful, much more powerful than a lot of people realize," said DeVries. "It can be deceiving, and it can be a bit disarming."
According to police, the fisherman who died Sunday had also been wearing hip waders, but it's unclear if that may have contributed to what happened.
In light of the tragedy, RCMP and the fire department are now urging people who spend time on the river to wear lifejackets.
"With fast flowing water, you need to wear a life jacket. You need to take those safety precautions," DeVries said.
The victim is believed to be a man in his 30s. His name has not been released.