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Man rescued after New Year’s Eve fall near Jervis Inlet waterfall

Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue were aided by North Shore Rescue and Powell River volunteers

Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue volunteers helped pull off a 'seamless' rescue for their last mission of 2022.

On New Year’s Eve, Sunshine Coast volunteers were called at around 1 p.m. when a local man fell near a waterfall on the east side of Jervis Inlet. 

Another person was with the man at the time of the incident and called 911. “Fortunately, they were in cell phone range,” Sunshine Coast SAR manager Alec Tebbutt said.

Two Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers who live in nearby Egmont took off in a boat to locate the man, who was believed to have cracked ribs and could not self-rescue, Tebbutt said. They would later find out the man also had a punctured lung.

While members of their rope rescue team were on the way, the Sunshine Coast team called North Shore Rescue for mutual aid via a helicopter. They also called the Powell River SAR team, who were transported by the Coast Guard, since they could have likely arrived on scene faster than the lower Coast volunteers. In total, more than 20 volunteers were called in, but some were later stood down. 

The two volunteers out of Egmont found the man and checked his condition. Tebbutt said North Shore Rescue arrived shortly after and was able to winch a doctor, who is also a SAR tech, from their helicopter between tight trees. 

Mike Danks of North Shore Rescue said the relationship between the Sunshine Coast and their team is “seamless."

“As soon as I got a text from [Tebbutt], we're moving an aircraft. We're getting a crew ready," said Danks. "They give us really accurate coordinates and information about the site and they also had rescuers that were on site before us so they could assist us coming in for a landing there and with the patient care.” 

The patient was wet, cold and unable to move when North Shore Rescue arrived, Danks said. “This was definitely the quickest, most efficient way to get him out,” rather than over land or by boat, he added. 

The local man was transported by helicopter to the Sechelt airport at around 3:30 p.m. From there, an ambulance took him to be treated at Sechelt Hospital. 

The mission was the Sunshine Coast SAR team’s last of the year, which saw a total of 29 tasks. The North Shore team had their last call of 2022 later that night in Rossland.