Canada

Port investigating after rogue wave at popular Metro Vancouver park sends 1 person to hospital

VANCOUVER —
The Port of Vancouver is looking into a frightening incident caught on video at Richmond’s Garry Point Park last Friday.

Priscilla Romero was at the park that morning for her regular walk with her baby. She said around 9:30 a.m., she ended up witnessing something that shocked her.

“That day I saw a ship, and I don’t know why it was, for me, interesting,” she said. “And I decide (to) record it.”

Romero took a video on her phone, in which a vessel that appears to be loaded with containers is passing by, and two people can be seen standing closer to the water. Within seconds, a wave comes out of nowhere. The water and debris is seen crashing up onto the shore and flowing right across the walking trail.

“I dont know what was happening in that moment but then I was in shock,” Romero said. “Because I remember two women in the coast with their dogs.”

The video captured one person falling into the water as the wave surged past them. Two people are seen afterwards, along with their dogs. BC Emergency Health Services confirmed to CTV News they responded to a call for a “near drowning” at the park on April 30.

“A paramedic crew was dispatched to the scene where they cared for one patient before transporting them to hospital in stable condition,” BC EHS said.

Richmond’s communications director Clay Adams said the city reached out to local maritime authorities, who issued a slow down warning for vessels in the area, but only for the weekend following the wave. Adams said they were hoping the measure would be extended until the spring snow melt ends.

“We were very concerned simply because of the safety risk, as rare as it might be, that this could actually occur again, and we needed to do what we could to try and prevent ships causing this issue,” he said. “We suspect it was a vessel that came through a little bit closer to the shoreline than normal in the channel and faster than it should have.”

In a statement to CTV, the Port of Vancouver said discussions are underway to determine what factors led to the wave, and added they recognize the seriousness of the incident.

“As a port authority, we are responsible for ensuring the safety of the waterways within port jurisdiction, which includes this area of Fraser River,” the Port said. “We regularly review and update the safety practices and procedures we have set in place for vessels to follow.”

Romero said she wanted to make people aware of what happened.

“I just think about every day, people go to Garry Point park for (a) walk and for play for their children and with their pet,” she said.

Adams said people should continue to enjoy the park and its beaches, and also be watchful.


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