Hiker dies after being struck by tree on Ripple Rock Trail near Campbell River

A 57-year-old woman was killed by a falling alder tree while hiking north of Campbell River on Tuesday.

The woman, who is from the Williams Lake area, was hiking the Ripple Rock Trail about 17 kilometres north of Campbell River with her daughter on Tuesday. The pair had gone about three kilometres on the four-kilometre trail when a tree fell, striking the mother, said RCMP Cpl. Ron Vlooswyk.

The medical interventions of the woman’s daughter, who is a nurse, and another hiker, an ex-military medic, were not successful and “she succumbed to her injuries,” Vlooswyk said.

“The force of the tree left no hope for survival.”

The B.C. Coroners Service confirmed Wednesday it is in the early stages of an investigation involving a female hiker.

“Due to privacy, we will not be releasing or confirming identity,” said B.C. Coroners spokesman Andy Watson.

At about 1 p.m. Tuesday, the coast guard was contacted by B.C. Ambulance about a woman injured on the Ripple Rock Trail, said Darren Morley, a coast guard officer.

“We accessed with B.C. Ambulance in a place called Nymphe Cove … and went up and recovered one injured person and another one and took them back to Campbell River,” Morley said.

The Canadian Coast Guard boat stationed in Campbell River was used, he said.

The hikers were on a B.C. Ministry of Forests’ recreation trail. An entire alder tree came down, a ministry representative said in an email.

The local ministry recreation officer went to the site on Wednesday and “confirmed that the tree no longer poses a threat. It would seem that winds [Tuesday] may have been a factor,” another official said.

The trail was last checked in March for safety hazards and at that time, the tree in question did not seem to pose a hazard, he said.

Recreation trails are regularly reviewed for safety hazards, including danger trees. Public safety is a top priority. “At the same time, people should always be aware of their surroundings and report any safety concerns,” he said.

Hikers taking the Ripple Rock trail pass by open areas, cross a bridge at Menzies Creek, and walk through forests to reach a spot overlooking Seymour Narrows. Nymphe Cove is toward the far east part of Ripple Rock Trail, between Stephenson and Wilfred points, near Seymour Narrows.

“The Campbell River RCMP are very sorry for loss of this mother and give their deepest condolences to her family,” Vlooswyk said.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

— With files from Carla Wilson

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