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One person dead, four rescued after being swept into Capilano River

Last Updated Oct 2, 2020 at 6:02 am PDT


Firefighters were called for a recue in the Capilano River Thursday afternoon.

Witnesses say there was a release of water from the Cleveland Dam sweeping people into the river

NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — One person has died after being swept into the Capilano River Thursday afternoon when a rush of water came surging out of the Cleveland Dam.

The four others who went into the water were either rescued, or managed to swim to safety.

RCMP say they were called to the river around 2 p.m.

“We received a number of reports from witnesses on the Capilano River that a wash of water had dragged a number of people into the water and washed them downstream,” says Sgt. Peter DeVries.

“Unfortunately one person has died as a result of being drawn into the river. There were a number of anglers who were fishing next to the river at the time. It’s a very unfortunate and sad occasion and our hearts and thoughts and prayers go out to the family and the friends of the person who has died.”

Witnesses tell NEWS 1130 the dam opened without warning.

Rescue crews would remain on scene for a while longer to search the river, “out of an abundance of caution,” according to DeVries.

“We are continuing to search in the event that there are more people who have not been recovered,” he says. “This is a tragic incident and we’re very sad to have to report this today.”

According to Jerry Dobrovolny, Chief Administrative Officer with Metro Vancouver Regional District, an investigation into the release of water from the dam is underway.

“Today the spillway gate released a large volume of water into the Capilano River while we were doing maintenance. We resolved the problem this afternoon and the river levels have normalizes, and we’re conducting a full investigation of the event. We’re continuing to work with emergency responders and will provide additional information as it becomes available,” he says.

With files from Bruce Claggett, Lasia Kretzel and Renee Bernard