View Royal Fire Rescue and B.C. Ambulance paramedics pulled off a tricky rope rescue at Thetis Lake Tuesday afternoon after a Victoria man tumbled down a cliff.
Witnesses say around 4:30 p.m., the 20-year-old man rolled 50 feet down a steep grassy slope near the Sunnyside Cliffs on the east side of the lake. Riley Post said his friend had been drinking most of the afternoon was “intoxicated as hell.”
Jason Brooks, who was jogging by with girlfriend Kelly Stegman, heard groaning from the bushes partway down the slope, and offered to help the man. “He refused,” Brooks said. “Then he fell down another 20 feet.”
Stegman said the man’s head and face was bloody and bruised and noted it was lucky he didn’t roll into the water. He likely would have drown.
When paramedics and firefighters arrived to extricate the man from the brush at the bottom of the cliff, he was conscious, but belligerent and verbally abusive. After warnings of possible arrest and the arrival of a West Shore RCMP officer, he eventually calmed down.
At least six rescuers – they described him as “really heavy” – delicately maneuvered him into a stretcher basket and then down the rock cliff face and into a View Royal Fire Rescue boat. He was transferred to hospital.
Dog walkers and other people watching the drama unfold gave the paramedics and firefighters a round of applause after the man was off the cliff.
“It went well,” said View Royal firefighter Lieut. Heath Bevan. “It was very challenging from where (the rescue) was in conjunction with the lake.”
This is the first serious injury of the summer season at Thetis Lake.