Searchers look for missing man after Cleveland Dam tragedy, RCMP say
1 person died following the accidental release of water from the dam on Thursday
RCMP say they're searching for a missing man believed to have been caught in a deadly torrent of water after a dam in North Vancouver unexpectedly opened during maintenance.
Work was being done on the Cleveland Dam shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday when the spillway gate, which controls the water's flow, opened and released a large volume of water into the Capilano River.
When the water surged down the river, it hit a popular fishing spot where a number of anglers were fishing.
The Mounties said in a statement Thursday that at least five people were swept into the water and four were rescued or able to reach the shore. The fifth person was pulled from the water in medical distress and he later died, police said.
RCMP said Friday a search is continuing for a man who was unaccounted for.
North Shore Rescue completed a search up to the mouth of the river, working until dusk Thursday and resuming at first light Friday, and did not find additional victims, RCMP said.
Police vessels have been searching the waters beyond the mouth of Capilano River and an RCMP underwater recovery team was also sent to the area.
"It's sad. I really feel for people in this situation," said Sgt. Peter DeVries with the North Vancouver RCMP.
"Words can't express how difficult it is when something so tragic happens."
Very intense moment as Sgt Peter Devries and the friends of the missing person meet and speak briefly before the update from North Van RCMP. <a href="https://t.co/aRoVJyn16Q">pic.twitter.com/aRoVJyn16Q</a>—@tinalovgreen
An investigation is now underway to determine a timeline of what happened, and whether human or system failures, or a combination of both, were responsible.
Jerry Dobrovolny, the commissioner of Metro Vancouver, which operates the dam, said a gate controlling the flow of water came down too quickly.
The gate is normally lowered mechanically or automatically when the water level of a lake needs to be controlled, but it's not known how it was being operated when the water gushed out, he said Friday.
It's also not known how long the gate was open or how much water poured down the river.
There are no structural issues with the dam and it's safe to be in the area, Dobrovolny said.
Metro Vancouver is working with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the provincial Environment Ministry to determine any impact on salmon, Dovrovolny said, adding minimal flows are being maintained for the fish.
He said regular updates on the investigation will be provided as they become available before a final report is released.
With files from Tina Lovgreen, Bethany Lindsay and The Canadian Press