A Dutch woman in her 60s drowned after falling into the river at Elk Falls today, according to Campbell River RCMP. Elaine Hall, a visitor from Langford, took this picture of first responders at the scene.

Dutch tourist dies after falling into B.C. river near waterfall

A woman in her 60s was touring Vancouver Island with her husband when she fell into the river

A woman drowned near Campbell River Thursday after falling into the waters at Elk Falls, according to the RCMP.

The woman, a Dutch tourist in her 60s, appears to have slipped into the river after trying to recover an apple, said Cpl. Ron Vlooswyk, a police spokesperson.

At 2:20 p.m., police received a report about “a wife of a tourist” being sucked into the water near Elk Falls.

The report, made by a third party, was unclear because “the husband could speak only broken English,” according to an RCMP media release.

“We could understand that somebody was under the water at Elk Falls,” said Vlooswyk. “Police immediately scrambled, got down and began the search of the area to get more details.”

They found the man near the falls.

“He said that his wife had slipped and fell into the water,” Vlooswyk said. “She yelled for help and then that was the last he saw of her.”

Vlooswyk said that police immediately notified BC Hydro, which shut down water flows at the John Hart Dam, which is located just upstream, to help search efforts.

An RCMP helicopter and a drone both scanned the water.

First responders at the scene included police, fire, search and rescue, and ambulance services. BC Hydro staff were also present.

Hikers were sent away from Elk Falls Park by first responders on Thursday afternoon as the search took place. At around 4 p.m., police cordoned off the trail leading to the falls from Brewster Lake Road.

A helicopter could be heard making repeated passes in the canyon, and a group of tourists returning from a hike said there were at least 25 rescuers at the scene.

The woman’s body was found in the area above the falls. She was recovered from the water at 5 p.m., Vlooswyk said. She appears to have become stuck in the fast-moving waters above the falls, he said.

A Dutch-speaking police officer was brought in to support the husband, according to the RCMP. The police are also liaising with the Dutch consulate to support the family. Meanwhile, the BC Coroner is taking over the investigation.

Vlooswyk extended his sympathies on behalf of the local police. He added that it’s not the first time this kind of tragedy has occurred at Elk Falls.

“I’ve personally been out there on similar incidents where somebody has slipped on the water, but they have actually gone over the falls,” he said. He said it appears that she was reaching for an apple when the tragedy took place.

“I believe it was an apple that was in the water and she tried to grab for it,” he said. “That’s what caused her to slip and fall.”

The incident took place just hours after BC Hydro issued a public safety notice telling people to stay away from Elk Falls due to higher water flows that were due to begin at 2 a.m. Friday.

BC Hydro said in a statement released on Thursday morning that it planned to increase water flows threefold that night following a malfunction at the old John Hart generating station, and advised the public to stay away from Elk Falls through Aug. 10.

The statement added that safety signage would be installed on Thursday.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

New owners of Crofton mill see bright future for industry

No layoffs or significant changes planned

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

North Cowichan turns down Crofton housing project

Council decides Adelaide proposal not right for the area

Rick Mercer says pot is ‘excruciatingly boring’

Comedian hopes Canadians will move onto something else once marijuana is legalized

Defence cautions against mob justice in Calgary child neglect trial

Jennifer and Jeromie Clark of Calgary have pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death

Feds eyeing options to expedite pardons for minor pot convictions

Internal discussions have focused on an application-based process for speeding up pot pardons

Island pot smokers won’t be allowed to light up on the ski hill

Mount Washington maintains smoke-free policy in light of marijuana legalization

U.S. pot firms urge Trump to dominate North American marijuana industry

Cannabis producers claim the U.S. is “rapidly losing” its competitive advantage to Canada

Battle resumes over speculation tax on B.C. vacant homes

Opposition calls it ‘fake’ tax that is reducing housing supply

Around the BCHL: Merritt, Chilliwack and Coquitlam early-season surprises

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s going on in the league and throughout the junior A world.

Federal government tables bill to transform prisoner segregation

Administrative and disciplinary segregation will be eliminated by Ottawa

Most Read