Whistler firefighters’ ‘Herculean effort’ helped save local senior who fell through ice

Good News Notes: 

A local senior is reportedly in good condition after spending half an hour in the frigid water of Alta Lake on Saturday, Jan. 9, when he fell through the ice while cross-country skiing.

‘My understanding was he was out yesterday shovelling his driveway,’ said Deputy Fire Chief Chris Nelson of the 78-year-old long-time local.

‘It could have easily not ended this way.’

Fire crews were called to Rainbow Park early Saturday afternoon after bystanders spotted the man in the water frantically waving for help. Eye-witness and local councillor Arthur De Jong, in a letter to Pique, said ‘watching the flailing arms of the drowning man in the centre of the lake while firefighters sprint-crawled the Rapid Deployment Raft across the precarious ice with everything their arms could deliver was both gravely tense and inspiring.’

The rescue presented a number of challenges to firefighters, who initially struggled to reach the man while sporting their heavy, ice-water rescue suits and dragging an inflatable watercraft, known as a Rapid Deployment Craft (RDC), behind them. It was also the first time that particular watercraft had been used by local crews in a rescue. 

At one point, Nelson said a firefighter fell through what appeared to be a stable patch of ice himself. Complicating things further was just how far out in the water the man was. A 300-foot tether wasn’t long enough to reach him, so firefighters had to improvise, tying multiple ropes together.

‘Typically a rope rescue doesn’t usually go that far out,’ Nelson noted. ‘But this one, we had to be inventive.’”

View the whole story here: https://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/local-news/whistler-firefighters-rescue-senior-ice-alta-lake-3252440

Leave a Reply