Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Beautiful But Deadly

What a shock I got from our local Vancouver papers this morning: a man was killed on the river that I visited (and blogged about) over the weekend!

In North Vancouver, the search for Andrew Koch, 26, of North Vancouver, washed away in Lynn Creek on Sunday, was called off yesterday.
"It's a matter of recovery at this point," said RCMP Cpl. Randall Wong. "Hope has diminished because search and rescue have walked pretty much every portion of the bank where he went in and there's no sign of him anywhere."
Rescuers believe Koch's body is trapped underwater by strong currents caused by rapid snowmelt and hot temperatures. They believe he will surface when the water recedes.
Wong said Koch was with friends in Lynn Canyon Park "enjoying the waters" when they decided to cross the river. Koch lost his footing and was swept away by the undertow.
"Initially they caught him hanging on to some . . . branches," said Wong. "His friends tried to pull him out of the water but they couldn't. The current pushed him under the trees that were overhanging and that's the last they saw of him."
Searchers concentrated on an area called 30 Foot Pool, north of the suspension bridge and downstream of where Koch slipped.
Tom Jansen and his two kids were among a small crowd at 30 Foot Pool yesterday, watching people cool off by jumping from the cliffs into the cool emerald waters below.
"[The water's] beautiful but it can be deadly," said Jansen, who has been coming to the park for over a decade. "You hear of hikers or people drowning or having to be rescued here all the time."

Sunday... My goodness, I was there on Sunday, it was happening downriver from me, right while I was there, a few kilometers higher up the main trail.

What a living nightmare this must be now for his friends, who tried but failed to save him. Can you imagine the guilt they must be carrying right now? It's probably not in the least bit their fault, probably no one could have saved him given these circumstances, but it will probably take years of haunted nights before they're able to convince themselves of that.

What an especially hard blow this must be to his family, who undoubtedly had made plans to celebrate Canada Day with him, and in the most unexpected manner possible were denied their celebration. I can't imagine what kind of pain they must be feeling right now... it must be pure hell to grieve at a time of the year when everyone else is partying.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of this fellow hiker who loved Lynn Creek too much.

On behalf of Covenant Zone, our condolences.

1 comment:

Dag said...

Thanks for expressing to Andrew Koch's family and friends our condolences. I'm terrible at expressing myself under such circumstances, and you have conveyed what I would have if I had been able.