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Anglers rescued from swollen Capilano River

More rain on the way for North Shore this weekend
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 A high angle rescue is used to rescue four anglers trapped on an island in the Capilano River under the Highway 1 bridge in North Vancouver at nightfall on Wednesday. photo supplied Gerry Kahrmann/PNGA high angle rescue is used to rescue four anglers trapped on an island in the Capilano River under the Highway 1 bridge in North Vancouver at nightfall on Wednesday. photo supplied Gerry Kahrmann/PNG

Four people who got stranded fishing in the Capilano River in the midst of a torrential downpour were pulled to safety Wednesday evening by firefighting crews.

Three men and one woman were fishing from a small island in the river Wednesday afternoon, at a popular fishing spot just south of where Highway 1 crosses the Capilano.

But as darkness closed in, the group realized they couldn’t safely wade back out across the swollen river.

District of North Vancouver firefighters were called out to assist the anxious anglers around 6:30 p.m.

Rescuers were lowered off the bridge deck over the river with ropes and delivered life-jackets to the stranded fishermen. All four were then hauled back to the safety of the bridge deck via ropes, said Walt Warner, assistant fire chief for District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.

It’s not the first time firefighters have had to rescue anglers who got in over their heads at the popular fishing spot. Fishermen have been plucked from the same island twice before in recent months, said Warner.

None of the four were harmed and all were dressed for the weather, Warner added.

But considering the conditions, “I think they made the right decision to stay where they were,” he said.

The anglers weren’t the only ones dealing with the downpour.

District of North Vancouver crews were out overnight on Wednesday mopping up localized flooding of roads and a few basements after storm mains backed up in the area of Pemberton and Marine Drive, said Stephanie Smiley, district spokeswoman.

City of North Vancouver crews also responded to reports of minor flooding.

The rainstorm on Wednesday – the second to hit the North Shore this week – brought 66 millimetres of rain to a weather station in North Vancouver’s Mahon Park and 82 mm of rain to the Cypress weather station.

That’s in addition to about 40 mm that soaked the North Shore on Monday.

“We’re definitely in an active storm pattern,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Matt MacDonald. “The jet stream is quite intense right now and is locked in over the B.C. coast.”

MacDonald said the remnants of typhoons off the coast of China have been sucked into the jet stream “and aimed at us,” bringing a concentrated plume of moisture.

Skies should clear briefly before another rainstorm hits the coast on Saturday and Sunday. That storm could initially even bring snow to the tops of North Shore mountains, said MacDonald. But the snow will be short-lived, as freezing levels rise.

Wind can also be expected to accompany the rain on the weekend, as it did on Monday when wind speeds of more than 100 kilometres per hour were recorded at Grouse Mountain.

“I think it’s safe to say we’re officially in storm season,” said MacDonald.

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