British Columbia

Man dies after fall in swift-moving river while fishing in North Vancouver

RCMP say that a group of four men were fishing together along the Capilano River when two of them ended up in the river. One of the men was able to get out of the river alive, the victim later died in hospital.

Police say 4 men were fishing together along the Capilano River when 2 ended up in the water

First responders attend to a fisherman rescued from the fast moving waters of the Capilano River on Sunday Oct. 27, 2019. (Shane MacKichan)

RCMP say one man has died after falling in a fast moving river on Vancouver's North Shore while fishing.

Emergency first responders were called to the Capilano River after reports that two fishermen fell into the river early Sunday afternoon.

Police later said it was a group of four men fishing together near Cable Pool. One in the group tried to cross the river, but lost his footing. Another member of the group went into the water to try and help his friend, but was unable to reach him.

While the victim was swept down river, the man who tried to help him was able to cling to a rock until he was rescued. The North Vancouver District Fire Rescue Service also responded to the emergency.

Emergency crew went down both sides of the river and a rescue boat was deployed, according to the deputy fire chief. (Shane MacKichan)

The victim, who police say is in his 30s, was located further away. When emergency responders pulled him from the water, police say he was in medical distress. He was taken to St. Paul's Hospital where he later died.

The other man was taken to hospital in stable condition according to B.C. Emergency Health Services spokesperson Caeli Turner. She said the first calls for help came in just before 1 p.m. on Sunday. 


Allie Lacasse was out for a walk with her boyfriend near the river's hatchery when she witnessed the incident. 

"We heard people yelling," she said.

"A little bit further down the river, a crowd of people were chasing someone down the river. There was a man who was stuck in the river, pressed up against a very large boulder."

She described the river as having a strong current and said it looked like the person was in the river for about 10 minutes before bystanders used poles and rope to pull him out. 

"It looked like he was able to walk after but obviously pretty cold and shaken," Lacasse said adding that she did not see the victim.

Deputy fire chief Kennedy urged fishermen to use safety equipment near the river. (Shane MacKichan)

Sgt. Peter DeVries said in a statement that the tragedy is heartbreaking.

"It was a beautiful sunny day today. The salmon are running. It was a perfect day to spend on the river with your fishing buddies. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

Police say that rivers in North Vancouver are dangerous with fluctuating flow rates.

"The beauty can be a bit disarming," said DeVries in the release. "Those rivers are much more powerful than they look."

Both DeVries and North Vancouver District Fire Rescue Service Deputy Chief Wayne Kennedy encourage people boating and fishing in the area to wear life jackets.

"For the fishermen here today, the use of a personal floatation device could have been a difference-maker," he said.

With files from Shane MacKichan