A visitor to British Columbia’s Flintry Provincial Park is lucky to be alive after falling more than 150 feet down a waterfall in pursuit of his wayward smart phone on Sunday.
The man, whose name has not been released, was rock climbing with his family when the accident took place. He was using his phone to take a picture of the falls near a sheer rock face when the device slipped from his grasp. He lunged after it, stepped over the brink, and fell 45 metres. Rescuers say the man “bounced” off the rocks on his way down.
Flintry Park is about 22 miles north of Kelowna in B.C.’s famous Okanagan Valley. The North Westside Fire Department, Kelowna Fire Department, B.C. Ambulance Service, and Vernon Search and Rescue all came to the man’s. Vernon’s Search and Rescue team is led by Andrew Honigman, who has described the incident to the media in considerable detail.
“It’s absolutely miraculous he only had light injuries,” Honigman told the CBC. “He had some scrapes and bruises, but from an approximately 150-foot fall, he’s lucky to be alive.”
According to Honigman, the man slipped and lost control of his phone because he was climbing over a fence at the time — a safety fence that had specifically been installed to keep hikers from falling over the waterfall’s edge.
Fortunately for the hiker in question, his carelessness has led only to minimal consequences due to an extremely lucky landing.
“If you saw it yourself, it’s amazing that he didn’t hit the rocks,” Honigman told the Calgary Herald. “He fell down into the pool of water at the bottom of the falls. He just happened to hit that in the centre of the pool where it was deepest.”
Although the victim may not have been terribly clever to hop a safety fence in search of pictures to share on social media, he was smart enough to call for help once he reached the pool in one piece. Had he tried to climb down the rest of the rock face, he could have put himself in even greater danger.
It’s the sixth such emergency reported in British Columbia this summer. Five people have died in the past few months alone after going over waterfalls in Canada’s westernmost province, including an elderly Dutch tourist and a young daredevil travel vlogger in the company of two friends.
Apart from surviving, there’s another silver lining to this story for the hiker: he actually did manage to retrieve his phone.
Nevertheless, Honigman points out that real moral of the tale is not to climb safety guard rails. They’re there for a reason!
To that, we’ll add another motto: safety first, selfies second.