West Shore RCMP says a woman pushed off a Thetis Lake cliff on the weekend suffered “serious bruising” that will take some time to recover from.
Meeting with local media Thursday morning, Cst. Nancy Saggar says the 29-year-old who lives in Sooke has been released from the hospital but has bruising “all in the front part of her body, up and down her legs, stomach, (and) chest”.
Police renewed a call for witnesses to come forward to help them understand what happened Sunday afternoon.
The victim told police she was hiking alone around 3:30 p.m. when she met a group of three unknown women who were reportedly drinking alcohol.
When she was looking over a cliff, the woman said she was then pushed from behind and fell in the water 12 metres below.
The woman was able to swim to shore.
Saggar said she hit the water very hard and when she came back to the surface, there was a male bystander near the water who asked if she was okay.
“So this is someone that we are interested in speaking to. If you were this individual, this male that was at the bottom, happen to notice a female fall into the water quite hard and asked them if they were okay at this time, please come forward and talk to us. We need to understand your perspective, we’d like to speak to you as a witness,” Saggar said.
Saggar added what is bizarre in the investigation is the woman told police there was no conflict before or after the incident, and that her conversation with the three women was actually a friendly one.
The three women police would like to speak to are described as Caucasian, 20 to 30-years-old.
Two had brunette hair and one had blonde hair and they were wearing bathing suits and sunglasses.
RCMP said they were informed that there were three separate groups of people at the location that were diving at the time at the top of the cliff and Saggar says there was “definitely people who saw this, if not multiple people.”
Police would like to speak with anyone at the top of the cliff who may have witnessed what happened.
“If you were involved in this incident, and you’re the person that happened to put hands on this lady, please contact us. We need to speak with you and figure out exactly what happened and who was up there at the time,” Saggar said.
Police say they were told by the victim the women were drinking, but do not know the extent or how intoxicated the suspects were at the time.
Saggar says the woman who fell from the cliff did not see who pushed her and did not know anyone at the top or bottom of the cliff, which makes the investigation more difficult with no identified witnesses or suspects.
Saggar also says diving off the cliffs is prohibited, although police are aware it is a popular activity.
“People can sustain some severe injuries and we’ve had cases of people diving, on their own accord, and sustaining some severe injuries. This is prohibited,” Saggar said.
“It is a highly risky activity to be involved in, especially if you’ve been drinking. Alcohol and water do not mix. We know that as a society that it’s very dangerous to be near the water, in water or diving if you’ve been drinking.”
Saggar says if you are going to hike alone to take safety precautions such as not getting too close to the edge of a cliff or putting yourself in a precarious spot.
She adds to let someone know where you are going so they have a starting point on where to look if you do not return home.