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'A very heartbreaking and difficult thing': Man dies after being swept down Capilano River

Last Updated Oct 28, 2019 at 5:43 am PDT

Torrential rain can push water levels up to -- and even over -- the banks of some creeks along popular trails and the flow of the Capilano and Seymour rivers can vary depending on precipitation, tide and dam operations. (Mike Lloyd, NEWS 1130 Photo)

The man fell into the Capilano River at around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday after snagging his fishing line

A friend went in after him to try to help, but couldn't catch him

The man was swept hundreds of metres downstream and died soon after being taken to hospital

NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A man in his 30s has died after an accident while fishing Sunday near the Capilano River Salmon Hatchery.

It happened just before 1 p.m., RCMP officers say, when a group of four men were fishing in the Capilano River.

“One of them snagged his line and he went to cross the river in order to get untangled. He lost his footing and he was swept downstream. One of his friends went in after him to try to help him but he was unable to catch up to him. It put him in a pretty dangerous situation as well,” explains Sgt. Peter DeVries.

The second man was able to cling to a rock and was pulled out of the water by two friends.

But the powerful current swept the other man 400-500 metres downstream where he was pulled out by firefighters and taken to hospital in critical condition. He passed away several hours later.

“It’s just a terribly sad story,” DeVries says, adding his heart goes out to the man’s family and friends. “It’s a very heartbreaking and difficult thing that they’re going through right now.”

DeVries says the accident underscores how important it is to wear a life jacket when fishing in the area.

“The river is powerful, it’s very strong and I think some people underestimate how dangerous it can be,” he says. “It may not immediately seem like the thing you have to do but if you’re going to be in or near the water you need to have a life jacket on. We just want to make sure that that message is out there so that people who do go down there, we really do want them to stay safe.”