Nfld. & Labrador

Hiker rescued after slipping down gorge into Corner Brook Stream

A woman who slipped while crossing the gorge bridge and found herself stranded in the icy water at the bottom was rescued by police early Wednesday morning.

Woman stranded in icy water taken out by police, who had to be tethered to other officers

The Corner Brook Stream Gorge Trail can be rough in spots, especially at night, says Sgt. Bob Edwards. (Bob Edwards/Twitter)

A woman who slipped while crossing the gorge bridge and found herself stranded in the icy water at the bottom had to be rescued by police early Wednesday morning.

The woman was out walking on the Corner Brook Stream Trail when it happened. 

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Sgt. Bob Edwards said she called police at 1:24 a.m. to say she had slipped and fallen down the 12-foot embankment and was stranded in the stream.

From her description of the location, police knew to use the Crocker's Road entrance and make the two-kilometre hike to her approximate location.

"There's a number of ways to get into that point, but it's not accessible by ATV or any type of motorized transportation, so it was quite a hike," Edwards said.

"She was down in the water. Our officers had to enter the stream up to their waist to get her out," he said. "We were able to get her back out of the water, up the embankment and to the bridge."

The Corner Brook Fire Department and paramedics arrived by that time and provided blankets and extra winter jackets to warm the woman up, before taking her out of the trail system on a stretcher and to hospital for observation.

In some places, the trail has very steep drops. (Judy May/Facebook)

It took police about 15 minutes to locate her, but a total of an hour to get her out.

Edwards said there was some fresh snow on the ground at that time, and responders were able to figure out the direction the woman went by following her single set of footprints.

"The area where it was, even for our officers to get down the embankment, it was pretty steep and it was very dark," Edwards said. "We brought some flares in to light up the actual bridge area while we were actually trying to get her out of the stream area, and then once we got her out of the stream a number of our officers had to more or less tether other officers to get them back up with the lady."

Given the steep drop and the frigid water conditions, Edwards said the woman wouldn't have been able to get out on her own.

"Where it was, it was just a tricky location. It wasn't easy actually to get out yourself, even with the assistance of lighting," he told CBC Newfoundland Morning.

The Corner Brook Stream Trail network has multiple walking systems and entry points throughout Corner Brook. (Bob Edwards/Twitter)

"The area where it was and the darkness and the time of year and again where she was in the water, she was becoming cold and that causes mobility problems as well."

Edwards said he has no idea why the woman was out walking at that hour — they were focused on getting her out safely.

But he said the woman was a resident of the Wheelers Road area, and it's not uncommon for people to cut through the extensive trail system, rather than walking through the rest of the city to get around.

However, he said walking at night — especially in winter — isn't without its risks, and people should ensure they're prepared.

"Make sure that people know where you're going, what your planned destination is, have a means of communication like a cellphone," he said.

"The bridge itself is well maintained, but then when you get on the other side with not much lighting in the area, it could cause potential problems and could have been one of the factors in tonight's circumstances."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Bernice Hillier