A man is air-rescued from destroyed pier, gets cheers as he leaves scene with rescuers.. (Aaron Hinks photos)

VIDEO: White Rock pier destroyed by storm, stranded man rescued

Crowd cheers as Cormorant crew transfers man trapped after pier collapses

A man stranded by today’s collapse of the White Rock pier has been rescued.

A Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopter arrived at scene just before 3:30 p.m. and transferred the man to the pierhead – to cheers from bystanders – where he was attended to by paramedics before being transferred to hospital.

The pier split in half shortly after 2 p.m. today, leaving one person stranded on the far end.

The storm – with gusts of up to 100 km/h and described by BC Hydro as “one of the most severe storms BC Hydro has experienced in years” – has dealt the 100-year-old structure a vicious beating.

“It’s almost split in half,” Peace Arch News reporter Aaron Hinks said from the scene just after 2 p.m. Thursday – moments before the structure collapsed.

“There’s at least one guy stranded on the far end of the pier. He can’t cross.”

In video taken this afternoon by PAN and shared on our Facebook page, the sailboats that broke loose from their moorings can seen be smashing against the pier.

READ MORE: Windstorm wallops Surrey, White Rock

They took out the handrailing, quickly followed by a chunk of the pier deck that continued to expand in size as the minutes passed.

Emergency crews remain on the scene.

“Every organization we can think of” was contacted for assistance with the rescue, White Rock RCMP Const. Chantal Sears told PAN.

“I believe we reached out to the U.S. as well.

“Hopefully, the rest of (the pier) is structurally sound until (help arrives.)”

“This is a first-time event, ever,” Dean Donnelly of RCM-SAR5 said of the storm’s impact.

Donnelly said some pieces of the pier drifted as far as the city’s namesake, as did as least one of the sailboats. It’s estimated only eight of around 30 vesels that were moored at the pier survived.

Lower Mainland Yacht Club skipper Jason Johnson said the club maintains six sailboats at the end of the pier, “all of which it appears at this point have been destroyed.”

“It’s fortunate that no one was seriously injured out here.”

Johnson said he has “never seen anything like this.”

It’s “a little bit surreal,” he said. “Reminds me a little bit about the power of the ocean.”

The pier was officially opened on Nov. 14, 1914. The battering effect of storms in the decades that followed led to the addition of the breakwater in 1953.

The City of White Rock repaired and replaced damaged piles and cross-braces in April 2013; work that was deemed necessary during a 2010 inspection.

White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker said efforts are underway to secure the structure until it is safe to assess the damage.

“Holy cow, what a mess, what a devastating afternoon,” Walker told PAN just after 4:30 p.m.

Walker said Marine Drive is closed, as is Buena Vista Avenue between Oxford and Foster streets.

The city issued a news release at 3:15 p.m. Thursday advising of the pier’s closure, along with closures of Centennial Park trails and more “due to extreme weather event.”

Away from the water, a White Rock firefighter said a hydro pole near the the corner of Johnston Street and Royal Avenue was at risk of coming down. Police and firefighters were seen diverting traffic heading south.

Closer to the water, a rotten egg smell near the corner of Fir Street and Victoria Avenue had residents worried about a gas leak.

Power remained on along much of Marine Drive and restaurants near the pier were packed during happy hour.

Walker said updates will continue to be posted to the city’s website (ow.ly/cKMf30n47Ns) throughout the evening and overnight.

Noting he’s been advised of storm damage to some local homes, Walker said the city’s emergency social service centre is up and running at Centennial Arena for anyone in need of the services.

He implored those curious about the impact to the pier, waterfront and other areas to stay away.

“This was a very, very strong (storm) and continues to be a very strong storm. People are kind of putting themselves in danger” by attempting the visit the sites.

The pier in particular, “we don’t want anybody getting close,” he said.

“Stay away, that’s the message.”

But despite waves continuing to crash into the visibly-wobbling pier, at least half a dozen people climbed under the barricade and walked out onto the 100-year-old structure. Some appeared to be nearly at the break in the pier, as it continued to be pummelled by strong winds.

Even after a White Rock RCMP officer headed down to escort people off the pier, a group of teens ran towards it, yelling about how “sick the storm” was.

Despite the damage, Walker was also adamant that the damage does not mean an end for the pier.

“Make no mistake it will be here for another 100 years,” he said.

“We will not lose that pier. Come hell or high water, we’ll make sure we have that pier.”



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Today’s storm is battering White Rock’s pier. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Just Posted

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Five Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures, including another at Panorama Ridge

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

This Crescent Beach home, located at 12505 22 Ave., was subject of a police search warrant June 18. (Google image)
Civil Forfeiture Office alleges Crescent Beach home used to launder money

Court documents request the home, and $85,000 to be turned over to the government

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read