A faint call for help led marine rescue crews to a hypothermic man clinging to the breakwater off of White Rock pier Wednesday morning.
According to officials, the 35-year-old was found huddled between large rocks on the southwest side of the breakwater around 7:20 a.m. – one hour after search-and-rescue and Coast Guard crews were dispatched from Crescent Beach and Richmond.
White Rock RCMP Sgt. Joel Glen said police were first alerted to a problem around 6 a.m., by reports a male could be heard calling for help at the end of the pier. When officers arrived, however, they could not find anyone, so marine crews were dispatched.
Dean Donnelly, with RCM SAR Unit 5 Crescent Beach, said the man, a Surrey resident, spent about 85 minutes in the water.
“He was impossible to spot until he began to move above the rocks,” Donnelly told Peace Arch News by email.
He told his rescuers he had fallen from the pier.
Suffering from hypothermia, the man was pulled from the rocks and given emergency care by the RCM SAR 5 crew, then taken to shore where he was stabilized and transported to hospital.
White Rock resident Danielle Fisher described the scene at the waterfront as “quite something.” She said she went to check it out around 8 a.m. after hearing of the rescue effort from a friend.
The joint effort of the crews, including the Coast Guard Hovercraft Moytel, is being credited with saving the man’s life.
“Excellent teamwork and co-ordination via Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Victoria and the four local EMS services (resulted in) a life saved this morning,” states a search-and-rescue report.