A man in his 20s suffered serious back and leg injuries in a fall from cliffs near Kwomais Point, above Boundary Bay, Friday afternoon.
It took a co-ordinated effort by agencies including RCMP, firefighters, paramedics, the Coast Guard and BNSF to get him to safety.
Deputy Chief Dan Barnscher said Surrey firefighters were alerted to the incident, near 128 Street and 13 Avenue, just before 4 p.m. Nov. 14 by B.C Ambulance Service.
“From the sounds of it, he may have been in a tree and then fell… (or) he may have been just looking at the trees and stumbled,” Barnscher said. “Regardless, he ended up about 20 metres down the embankment.”
Eighteen firefighters, including the department’s eight-member technical rescue team, were dispatched, along with police, paramedics, and Coast Guard hovercraft and RCM-SAR5 (Crescent Beach) auxiliary crews.
BNSF halted rail traffic along the line to ensure the evacuation route remained clear.
The victim was located just above the railway tracks, in thick blackberry bushes.
Firefighters effected a low-angle rope rescue, making their way down the slope to the victim, who was conscious and complaining of back pain and possible fractures.
“Packaged” to ensure he was immobilized, the man was en route to a waiting air ambulance – which had landed on the rocky foreshore about 500 metres from the cliff base – within an hour.
RCM-SAR5 spokesman Morgan Brewster described the incident as a good example of inter-agency co-operation.
“Everybody was needed there,” he said.
The Crescent Beach crew was initially called out to effect water access to the victim. As darkness fell, they, along with the Coast Guard hovercraft team, helped light up the scene for the extrication effort and air ambulance.
The victim was transported to Royal Columbian Hospital.
For safety reasons, the firefighters and their equipment were then transported by hovercraft to White Rock pier.