Multiple rescues in Nanaimo area over past week, RCMP say

First responders were busy in the backcountry around Nanaimo over the past week, with multiple incidents requiring help from search-and-rescue teams.

Last Sunday, search-and-rescue volunteers were called to assist an injured 10-year-old boy who had been mountain biking in the South Benson trail network. The boy walked out of the trails on his own, escorted by search-and-rescue crews and his parents, and was assessed by waiting paramedics.

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The following day, police responded to a call that a boy and a girl were in the Nanaimo River in distress.

Nanaimo RCMP said the girl made it to shore on her own, but the boy appeared to have been swept away by rapids.

An RCMP helicopter searched for the boy while crews from multiple search and rescue organizations looked for him on the ground.

Police learned from witnesses that the boy had already gotten out of the water on his own. There were no injuries.

On Tuesday, the Nanaimo Fire Department rescued a dog that had fallen into a crevice near the Extension Ridge trail.

That same day, a man went into distress while swimming in an area of the Nanaimo River known as the Darkside. North Cedar and Cranberry fire departments responded with search-and-rescue crews. The man was rescued and transported to hospital.

Const. Derek Balderston of the Nanaimo RCMP said anyone venturing into the backcountry should be well prepared and stay within their skill level.

“It is critical that should something go wrong you are able to articulate where you are,” Balderston said.

Information on how to play outdoors safely — including tips on trip planning and essential gear — can be found at

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