UPDATED: Man rescued after B.C. city’s pier breaks up in wind storm

Search and rescue crews were deployed to rescue person stuck in White Rock storm

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 forecast for the afternoon – has dealt the 100-year-old structure a vicious beating.

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,” Donnelly said of the storm’s impact.

He said some pieces of the pier drifted as far as the city’s namesake, as did as least one of the sailboats.

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.”

More to come…



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Penticton’s choice to host 2021 Centennial Cup well grounded

The strength runs deep throughout the Vees organization and the city in landing Centennial Cup

Okanagan inmate charged in Princeton kidnapping gets second trial extension

Afshin Maleki Ighani said he was unprepared for trial due to issues around a full disclosure package

South Okanaga SPCA receives over $21,000 from Penticton fundraiser

Barry Zarudenec almost single handedly raised over $21,000 for the South Okanagan Similkameen SPCA

Ranchers help grow PRH

Ranching family’s roots recognized through PRH donation

PHOTOS: Kids get big thrill out of Indigo Circus in Penticton

Indigo Circus kicked off 36th season of the Children’s Showcase on Sunday

Charles wows them at iconic South Okanagan venue

Blues musician Michael Charles played to a sold-out crowd at the Dream Café Saturday

Conservative candidate Tracy Gray wins Kelowna-Lake Country

The Canadian Press declared her the winner around 8:30 p.m.

Tories take North Okanagan-Shuswap riding with decisive lead

Incumbent Conservative MP Mel Arnold returns to Ottawa, Liberal Cindy Derkaz a distant second

Conservative Dan Albas wins Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Supporters for candidates gather in West Kelowna to watch election results

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Troll Grandfather bridges gap in Okanagan

Spotlight Kids’ Series show comes to Vernon Sunday

Kelowna council opposes ‘racist’ Quebec secularism bill

The city joins Calgary, Montreal, Victoria, Kitchener and Brampton in condemning the bill

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Most Read