Young man critically injured after cliff jumping at Thetis Lake

WatchIt's a story we seem to tell every summer. Serious injuries while cliff diving at Thetis Lake. Just last night, a young man was taken to hospital critically injured after a jump went wrong.

Emergency crews were called to Thetis Lake, just after 5 p.m. Wednesday night after a young man hit his head while cliff diving and became unconscious in the water.

The young man was scooped up by a nearby paddle boarder, then taken away to hospital in critical condition.

The incident is not a first for Thetis Lake, where officials have warned about the dangers of cliff jumping before.

The lake has a shallow, uneven and rocky bottom, with steep slopes sliding into it, and the steady stream of thrill-seekers means that cliff diving accidents there every year.

“The reality is that this is a problem that’s not going away,” Chief Paul Hurst of View Royal Fire said back in July of 2017.

“It’s been a problem for 30 years and everybody keeps ignoring it.”

He repeated his concerns on Thursday. At Thetis Lake, the View Royal Fire Department often has to respond to injured cliff divers.

“I said it last year and the summer before, and here we are in another summer, and another kid’s been hurt coming off the cliffs,” Hurst said.

Hurst said some divers hit the cliff on the way down, others get knocked out by the impact of the water, and some just never surface.

“It just wears on you after a while,” Hurst said.

“And these aren’t pretty accidents. You know, when you fall off a 30 or 50-foot cliff and you miss the water, hit the rock face, then end up in the water unconscious, you can imagine the injuries to a body.”

According to the Lifesaving Society for B.C. and the Yukon, this year alone, British Columbia has already seen 16 drownings.

“You know we’ve got some great weather, and everybody wants to get out and cool down. We just want to encourage everybody to be very careful and have a great time, but be very careful in the waters,” warned Dale Waters, executive director of the Lifesaving Society for B.C. and the Yukon.

No other details have been released about the man.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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