The Cleveland Dam in North Vancouver was not meant to rapidly release water into the Capilano River on Thursday – which resulted in at least one death – and doesn’t have an alarm to warn people, officials have confirmed.
In a news conference Friday (Oct. 2), Metro Vancouver commissioner Jerry Dobrovolny told reporters that while there isn’t an alarm to warn the public, there is “a telemetry system that sends information to our control room, which is over at the Seymour Dam.”
There are also signs along the river bank warning people about the flowing river, he said, “but obviously the rapid change that happened yesterday was not intended to be covered by that.”
An investigation is underway to determine exactly why the gate which controls the flow of water was lowered, causing a large volume of water to release into the river where a number of people were fishing. Dobrovolny confirmed there was no breach or failure at the dam to cause the gate to lower, suggesting a possible mechanical malfunction or human error.
Video from the Cleveland Dam malfunction today in North Vancouver @GlobalBC @CTVVancouver @CBCVancouver I was walking my dogs there just before 2pm pic.twitter.com/Edsf6wqmWB
— Christine Tam (@christinetam) October 2, 2020
Four people were rescued or able to reach shore while a man was pulled from the water in medical distress and later died of his injuries, sparking an investigation by North Vancouver RCMP and the BC Coroners Service.
Dobrovolny said that the gate is now locked and offered condolences of those affected.
In an update, RCMP said they won’t be releasing the name of the person who died, and will remain on scene with rescue personnel as it has not yet been determined conclusively that there are no additional victims.
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