A tight spot

View Royal firefighters free stuck boy from rocks on Esquimalt First Nation

A 12-year-old boy found himself between a rock and a hard place Wednesday (Aug. 7) when he managed to get stuck in a riprap rock wall on Esquimalt First Nation.

The boy was trying to retrieve his cousin’s iPod, which she had accidentally dropped between the large rocks, when he slipped feet first and managed to get himself wedged in between three big boulders in the wall.

Just his head and shoulders were sticking out above the rocks.

Others tried to get him out, with no success, before calling 911.

“He wedged himself in there good,” said fire chief Paul Hurst. “(We) went down there and scratched our heads for a bit to try and figure out how we were going to get him out. … I can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone stuck in a riprap wall before.”

The pinching rocks prevented the firefighters from simply pulling the boy out, as he could be hurt in the process. A fibre optics camera was used to assess the situation and make sure he wasn’t injured.

Hurst said the boy was a bit panicky and fire crews were concerned if a simple solution wasn’t found it could turn into quite the predicament. Also of concern was a rising tide, the ultimate height of which was uncertain.

“If we hadn’t been able to get him out the simple way, it probably would have got pretty complicated,” Hurst said. “You couldn’t move the rocks without a big machine, but moving one rock would have probably set in motion a collapse of the other rocks. It was one of those situations where you’re like ‘I hope this works, or we’re going to be here for a long time.'”

Eventually firefighters took a thin plastic sheet from an ambulance and slid it between the boy’s back and the rock. Then liquid soap was poured around the boy and three or four firefighters managed to slip the boy out of his tight situation.

The boy had a couple of scratches on his hips and stomach but was otherwise uninjured.

Hurst said the media attention the incident has received has been substantial, along with the good natured jokes.

“All the puns are coming out. But at the end of the day it all worked out good.”

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com