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

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

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Vehicle found “burnt to a crisp” off of Hwy 5

Update from Clearwater RCMP detachment

One day, your way

Information about this year’s Terry Fox (virtual) Run

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Most Read