UPDATED: Man rescued after B.C. city’s pier breaks up in wind storm

Search and rescue crews were deployed to rescue person stuck in White Rock storm

A man stranded by today’s collapse of the White Rock pier has been rescued.

A Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopter arrived at scene just before 3:30 p.m. and transferred the man to the pierhead – to cheers from bystanders – where he was attended to by paramedics before being transferred to hospital.

The pier split in half shortly after 2 p.m. today, leaving one person stranded on the far end.

The storm – with gusts of up to 100 km/h forecast for the afternoon – has dealt the 100-year-old structure a vicious beating.

READ MORE: Windstorm wallops Surrey, White Rock

They took out the handrailing, quickly followed by a chunk of the pier deck that continued to expand in size as the minutes passed.

Emergency crews remain on the scene.

“Every organization we can think of” was contacted for assistance with the rescue, White Rock RCMP Const. Chantal Sears told PAN.

“I believe we reached out to the U.S. as well.

“Hopefully, the rest of (the pier) is structurally sound until (help arrives.)”

“This is a first-time event, ever,” Donnelly said of the storm’s impact.

He said some pieces of the pier drifted as far as the city’s namesake, as did as least one of the sailboats.

Lower Mainland Yacht Club skipper Jason Johnson said the club maintains six sailboats at the end of the pier, “all of which it appears at this point have been destroyed.”

“It’s fortunate that no one was seriously injured out here.”

Johnson said he has “never seen anything like this.”

It’s “a little bit surreal,” he said. “Reminds me a little bit about the power of the ocean.”

The pier was officially opened on Nov. 14, 1914. The battering effect of storms in the decades that followed led to the addition of the breakwater in 1953.

The City of White Rock repaired and replaced damaged piles and cross-braces in April 2013; work that was deemed necessary during a 2010 inspection.

White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker said efforts are underway to secure the structure until it is safe to assess the damage.

“Holy cow, what a mess, what a devastating afternoon,” Walker told PAN just after 4:30 p.m.

Walker said Marine Drive is closed, as is Buena Vista Avenue between Oxford and Foster streets.

The city issued a news release at 3:15 p.m. Thursday advising of the pier’s closure, along with closures of Centennial Park trails and more “due to extreme weather event.”

Away from the water, a White Rock firefighter said a hydro pole near the the corner of Johnston Street and Royal Avenue was at risk of coming down. Police and firefighters were seen diverting traffic heading south.

Closer to the water, a rotten egg smell near the corner of Fir Street and Victoria Avenue had residents worried about a gas leak.

Power remained on along much of Marine Drive and restaurants near the pier were packed during happy hour.

Walker said updates will continue to be posted to the city’s website (ow.ly/cKMf30n47Ns) throughout the evening and overnight.

Noting he’s been advised of storm damage to some local homes, Walker said the city’s emergency social service centre is up and running at Centennial Arena for anyone in need of the services.

He implored those curious about the impact to the pier, waterfront and other areas to stay away.

“This was a very, very strong (storm) and continues to be a very strong storm. People are kind of putting themselves in danger” by attempting the visit the sites.

The pier in particular, “we don’t want anybody getting close,” he said.

“Stay away, that’s the message.”

But despite waves continuing to crash into the visibly-wobbling pier, at least half a dozen people climbed under the barricade and walked out onto the 100-year-old structure. Some appeared to be nearly at the break in the pier, as it continued to be pummelled by strong winds.

Even after a White Rock RCMP officer headed down to escort people off the pier, a group of teens ran towards it, yelling about how “sick the storm” was.

Despite the damage, Walker was also adamant that the damage does not mean an end for the pier.

“Make no mistake it will be here for another 100 years,” he said.

“We will not lose that pier. Come hell or high water, we’ll make sure we have that pier.”

More to come…



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: Different taxation system necessary

Langley Township taxpayer argues that taxes shouldn’t be based on assessed home values

VIDEO: Maple syrup taffy among treats and demos at 11th annual Vive les Voyageurs festival

Fort Langley National Historic Site celebrated French Canadians and Métis fur traders

Surrey-Langley SkyTrain business case to go to mayor’s council next week

Also plans for agreement that ‘commits’ Surrey to policies, initiatives to help ensure project’s success

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

Man clings to roof of car driving along busy road in Maple Ridge

The man was also seen jumping on the vehicle

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Most Read