Sicamous firefighters rescued a woman from the middle of Sicamous Creek after she fell into the water at Two Mile Falls, where water levels are much higher than this photo suggests. -Image credit: Sicamous Fire Department

Woman rescued from raging creek

Sicamous firefighters put training into effort to save the life of a person stranded on a rock

A 22-year-old Kelowna woman is alive, thanks to the actions of the Sicamous Fire Department.

Around 7 p.m. On Sunday, June 11, the woman was visiting Two Mile Falls with her boyfriend.

She fell off one of the rocks and was carried downstream over two smaller falls in Sicamous Creek, before he was able to climb onto a large rock protruding from the raging water.

Police and Shuswap Search and Rescue, a team that has special swift-water training and equipment, were also called. But, Sicamous Fire Chief

Brett Ogino said that, while there were some challenges, four members of the Sicamous Fire Department have rope training and swift water training and decided to effect a rescue.

“Our assessment was that she had been there for a bit and was probably suffering from hypothermia,” he says, noting the woman had slipped from a viewing point at the bottom of Two Mile Falls, dropped 20 feet down two smaller falls and another forty or fifty feet before climbing onto a rock and holding onto that for dear life and screaming. “By the time we got her off the rock, she was pretty terrified.”

Ogino says the woman is very lucky in that the water level had come down over the previous couple of days and she was able to climb onto the isolated rock as there are “nasty piles of trees and swift water” below.

“If she had fallen off the rock, she would have been in serious trouble,” he adds.

He says firefighters were very concerned for the woman and it was difficult not to rush across the fast-moving creek to rescue her.

But rescue required thoughtful and careful preparation before firefighter Dan Roddick, who has swift-water-awareness training, was ready to cross the creek to harness the woman and get her safely to shore.

“She was very cold but still responding and talking when we got her off the rocks and up the hill to the ambulance,” he says, noting when Shuswap SAR team members arrived, he accompanied them down to the site, told them what the fire department had done and asked for advice.

“We’re very lucky; we are not equipped, but we were able to make decisions to save her life,” he says, noting he can understand SAR concerns that firefighters did not wait 40 minutes more for the Salmon Arm-based SAR swift-water team to arrive. “We know from the experts’ perspective it was not a textbook rescue, but it saved her life.”

Ogino says despite the fact the dramatic creek rescue was the first he has been involved with in his 20 years of experience, the costs of training and buying and maintaining the equipment, the department will definitely look at getting swift-water equipment in the future.

While Ogingo spoke only to the rescue operation itself, Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz and Chief Administrative Officer Evan Parliament were quick to praise the firefighters and their efforts.

“These guys are so humble they don’t say anything; they don’t look for recognition, they just do what they do,” said Parliament Monday.

“I can’t be any more proud of our fire department. The were the first to arrive at the location and that was probably a major component in saving this person’s life,” said Rysz. “Since we got Brett as full-time fire chief, we can respond a lot quicker, our fire department has developed incredible skills and a high level of training. We’re so fortunate to have the group we have here; they’re volunteers and they’re passionate, well trained and very humble.”

Just Posted

Not too early to make fall plans

Celebrate the fall with the annual Naramata Bench Wineries Association Tailgate Party .

Walk to end abuse for those who can’t

SOWINS’s Debbie Scarborough points to the lethal potential in intimate partner abuse

Run for beer along Penticton’s Ale Trail

The second annual Penticton Beer Run takes place on June 2

Penticton trio perform classical music recital

Penticton locals Mia Harris, Christine Robinson and Dennis Nordlund perform on May 26

TGIF: Penticton and South Okanagan events listings

Live theatre, concerts, events, art exhibits and more from around the South Okanagan

Construction on 300 Block on target, nearly time to celebrate

Construction is expected on the 300 Block of Main Street in Penticton is expected to wrap June 15

Unusually nasty odour repulses Chase residents

Village staff trying to get bacteria working in lagoons at sewage treatment plant

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Athlete of the week: Declen Blondin

Declen Blondin is the Penticton Western News/Canadian Tire athlete of the week

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Most Read