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Good Samaritan praised after saving drowning man in North Vancouver park

Passing stranger performs CPR on injured man in Lynn Canyon
North Vancouver emergency crews transport a man in his 60s who slipped into Lynn Canyon Friday afternoon.

A Good Samaritan is being praised for his heroics after providing CPR to a drowning man who fell into Lynn Canyon on Friday afternoon.

Langley resident Craig Vollweiter, a 26-year-old officer cadet with the Canadian Forces, was hiking in the park with his partner when he was approached by a young girl in distress who was asking for help with an emergency around 1:15 p.m.

After accompanying the girl down to the boardwalk at the river’s edge near the Twin Falls Bridge, Vollweiter helped pull a man in his 60s to safety who was partially submerged in the river and lying face down in the water. The man’s wife was there but was having trouble lifting her husband out of the riverside.

Vollweiter then noticed the man wasn’t breathing and was lacking basic vital signs such as a pulse.

“Training kicked in,” said Vollweiter. “I was starting to worry how long he’d been out.”

Vollweiter then gave the man chest compressions while directing the man’s wife in the rescue breathing techniques of CPR.

After three cycles of CPR, the man started to breathe again.

North Vancouver District Fire and Rescue Services members and paramedics arrived on scene shortly after. The man had likely suffered a medical incident, slipped, and then hit his head before falling unconscious into the water, according to rescue crews.

After stabilizing the man and getting him on a stretcher, it took seven firefighters to transfer him out of Lynn Canyon and to a waiting ambulance.

Although Vollweiter said he took his first CPR training course more than a decade ago, this was the first time he’s put his training into practise.

“It’s a good skill to have in your back pocket. It takes one day for certification,” said Vollweiter, who has made sure his certification has stayed current over the years. “I’m just overwhelmingly happy I’ve actually kept up with the certifications.”

Assistant fire chief David Dales commended Vollweiter for his exceptional patient care and the significant impact it likely had on the successful outcome. Dales also commended other bystanders in the area who alerted rescue crews to the exact location of the incident when they arrived on site.

“The right person was at the right spot at the right time,” said Dales.