NEWS

Lynn Canyon cliff jumpers difficult to control, says district

08/22/2013 12:31 EDT | Updated 10/22/2013 05:12 EDT
A Lynn Canyon caretaker says he has witnessed too many tragedies involving thrillseekers who jump from the park's cliffs into the rushing waters below.

Jose Gyarzu says both cliff jumpers and the spectators that cheer them on bear responsibility for their actions.

"I don't think it's the kids jumping as much, it's the people that are cheering them on," he told CBC News. "I go by and I say, 'You know what? Why don't you guys go cheer him on when he's in the hospital?'"

Yesterday, firefighters were forced to descend nearly 40 metres into the steep river canyon in North Vancouver to rescue an injured diver.

Michael Cairns, spokesman for the District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue, says the incident took place about 30 metres north of the suspension bridge in Lynn Canyon Park.

He says about 12 firefighters spent more than two hours on the call.

The diver, who's believed to be among a group of tourists from Scotland and Ireland, was able to move his toes and fingers when he was brought to hospital, where he remains today.

Cairns says it appears men are trying to outdo each other by jumping from higher ledges in the canyon.

Canyon popular with cliff jumpers

Cliff jumping is a difficult activity to control and monitor, said Jeanine Bratina, spokeswoman for the District of North Vancouver.

At least one park ranger patrols the park seven days a week from 11 a.m. PT to 10:30 p.m., and during the summer months, five additional rangers work in the park, Bratina said in an e-mail statement to CBC News.

Before the district's park ranger program was launched in 1993, 17 people died in Lynn Canyon over a 12-year period.

Since then, Brantina said, emergency services have noticed a decline in the number of accidents requiring rescues.

Fire and rescue crews responded to seven calls in 2010, and eight calls in both 2011 and 2012.

But Gyarzu, the caretaker, says more needs to be done to stop those who continue to risk their lives in the canyon.

"I just pray that he's ok," Gyarzu said, referring to yesterday's injured diver. "Another tragedy."

MORE:cbcNews