Firefighters perform complicated rope rescue after tuber injured at Elora Gorge

·2 min read

Centre Wellington Fire and Rescue Services performed a complicated rope rescue at the Elora Gorge on Monday after a tuber's foot became lodged between rocks.

Deputy Fire Chief Jonathon Karn said personnel were called to the gorge around 4:15 p.m. for a rescue that involved 22 firefighters. It was one of three calls the department responded to within the space of a few hours on Monday afternoon.

Karn explained the woman had been tubing with a group when she stepped off in a shallow area and got her foot stuck between rocks. The current kept pushing her, resulting in a suspected leg fracture.

After assessing the injury, firefighters determined a rope rescue with a Stokes Basket was preferable to transporting the victim to the exit point of the river in an inflatable boat.

"Although the injury wasn't life threatening, we didn't want to have that person endure a bit of a rough ride in our boat and potentially have to get out of the boat and walk in some of the shallower areas," said Karn. "We wanted to make sure to immobilize her leg as best as possible and get her into EMS care."

The woman was transported to Groves Memorial Community Hospital and was conscious and talking to emergency personnel for the duration of the rescue, said Karn.

She and her group were properly equipped with life jackets and helmets from a tubing outfitter and "nothing that they were doing would be deemed out of the ordinary or negligent," said Karn.

Monday's incident is around the sixth that fire and rescue services have responded to at the gorge so far this year, said Karn.

"It may seem like we've been there many times," he said. "But when you consider the fact that hundreds of people are using that river every day, we haven't been there that often for rescues."

He emphasized the gorge is a natural area, "not a water park." Tubers should go through a proper outfitter to ensure they have necessary safety items like shoes, life jackets and helmets. They also need to "know their limitations," as far as swimming ability, he said.

"This is not a theme park, this is not a man-made lazy river," Karn continued.

At the same time firefighters were on scene at the gorge, standby units were called to a collision in Fergus involving a rollover at the intersection of Queen and Tower Streets, Karn said.

Earlier in the afternoon they responded to a small brush fire. On Sunday evening, personnel were called to a fatal crash south of Elora.

"Certainly our firefighters this weekend had to put their training to the test and did an excellent job," Karn said.

Alison Sandstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

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