Crystal clear, turquoise waters in the Coquihalla near Othello Tunnels are a welcoming but dangerous spot. Hope Search and Rescue responded to two calls there over the B.C. Day long weekend. (Hope Search and Rescue Swift Water Team photo)

Crystal clear, turquoise waters in the Coquihalla near Othello Tunnels are a welcoming but dangerous spot. Hope Search and Rescue responded to two calls there over the B.C. Day long weekend. (Hope Search and Rescue Swift Water Team photo)

Long weekend rescues on Coquihalla River prompt warning from Hope Search and Rescue

One person was close to drowning, and was sent to hospital via air ambulance

It’s cool, refreshing, and deadly.

Coquihalla Canyon, at the Othello Tunnels, is an inviting place to cool off on a hot summer day. But it’s also a very dangerous place to swim. And this B.C. Day long weekend, the swift water team with Hope’s Search and Rescue were called there twice.

The first call was on July 31, when two young teenagers found themselves stranded on the far rocks across the Coquihalla River. They were rescued and returned to dry land without any injuries.

The second call was on Aug. 2, when a person had been swept down river, and had possibly drowned. The person was rescued, thanks to quick response from Search and Rescue, the Hope Fire Department, and the BC Emergency Health Services. The person was semi-conscious and transported to hospital via an air ambulance.

The back-to-back calls prompted a reminder from Hope Search and Rescue that it’s not the place to go swimming.

“This is a strong reminder that while the Coquihalla Canyon and pools of crystal clear water looks refreshing and inviting, it is extremely hazardous,” they posted on their social media. “Not only to the public but to the responders who attend the rescue.”

As for the two teens who were rescued early in the weekend, they said they “learned a valuable lesson about swimming in the area.”

READ MORE: RCMP confirm weekend drowning on Chilliwack River


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jessica.peters@hopestandard.com

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