A group of volunteer heroes from Parksville Qualicum Beach has earned international acclaim for a daring rescue recorded in a viral TikTok video last year.
On May 12, Arrowsmith Search and Rescue (ASAR) members were interviewed by a United Kingdom television outlet regarding a harrowing winter whitewater rescue at Qualicum Falls Provincial Park on Dec. 12, 2020, when a man fell into the Qualicum River and was “clinging for life” on a log.
The UK outlet, ITV Studios, produce the program Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera, a clip show which features hard-to-believe footage recorded on mobile devices. Producers of the show reached out to the ASAR after seeing the viral video of the rescue online.
According to ASAR swiftwater team manager Nick Rivers, who rappelled into the raging waters to rescue the man, the technical operation took approximately 30 minutes and left him sore for several days after. Typical rescue operations by ASAR are on land, with water rescues happening only once or twice a year.
A freelancer from North Vancouver worked as a one-man camera crew at ASAR headquarters while the show’s interviewer asked questions through a monitor feed. Rivers, ASAR manager Ken Neden, and rope team leader Dee Collins, all took turns sitting before the camera.
“International recognition is pretty incredible and not something you see happening in our world in search and rescue,” said Rivers. “We hope out of the filming of this episode that we can get more attention about search and rescue out to the public. We want the public to know what happens behind the scenes and all the effort that goes into this, the dedication.”
Rivers noted that hopefully international acclaim bodes well for the organization’s current fundraiser to build a new hall in Qualicum Beach.
Information on when ASAR’s episode of Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera will air, and how Canadians can view it, will be updated when available.
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