A woman who was found unresponsive underwater Sunday afternoon upstream from the Nymph Falls Nature Park has been airlifted to a Vancouver hospital.
The incident occurred around 5 p.m. at Barber’s Hole, a popular swimming area in the Puntledge River. The young woman, reported to be in her 20s, had been pulled from the water and given CPR before first responders arrived. Firefighters took over and attempted to revive her via AED (automated external defibrillator).
Because the woman was across the river, a firefighter had to cross the water and start CPR on the spot.
“There was no way to get the equipment and the AED through the water to where she was, so we put the patient on a tube, swam her back across the pond and started CPR at the bottom of the hill,” Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said, in an interview with CTV Vancouver Island.“She got one shock on scene. I don’t know what happened on the way up. I wasn’t with them.”
The victim was transported via ambulance to St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox, before being airlifted to St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. Police checked in Monday at St. Paul’s, where the woman remained.
Ground Search and Rescue crews had also been called to the scene but weren’t required.
With lower flows this year, crews are concerned about people diving into areas that had, in past years, contained more water.
“We want people to be familiar with whatever area they’re in,” Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue president Paul Berry said.
“Make sure that they know the depth if they’re diving in, and that they’re with a buddy. Certainly if there’s someone who isn’t a strong swimmer.”