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

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

Nelson-area man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

West Kootenay highways a mess as heavy snowfall continues

‘Roads are very icy, people have to be patient and have to slow down’

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

Most Read