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Five Sikh hikers used their turbans to create a makeshift rope and save two other hikers who had slipped into freezing water at Golden Ears Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada.
Kuljinder Kinda and four of his friends were hiking when a passing group told them that two men had slipped down a slick rock face and were stranded in the lower falls pool, unable to crawl out. Kinda and his group tried to call for help, but couldn’t get cell service. After 10 minutes of deliberation, they decided to tie together their turbans, and a few other articles of clothing they thought might be strong enough, to create a 30-foot-long rope, which they used to help the stricken hikers climb out.
Sikh men traditionally keep their turban on in public; it protects the Kesh (uncut hair), which is one of the five articles of faith that form the Sikh identity.
“In Sikhi, we are taught to help someone in any way we can with anything we have, even our turban,” Kinda told NBC News.
A video of the incident on Monday, in which five Sikh hikers tied their dastaars (turbans) together to save a man who had slipped and fallen at the Lower Falls at Golden Ears Park. Video courtesy @globalnews
Kudos to these young men on their quick thinking and selflessness. pic.twitter.com/XQuX27OH5i
— Sikh Community of BC (@BCSikhs) October 16, 2021
Robert Laing, a manager at Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue, said the waterfalls are behind a fenced area and there are signs warning all hikers of the dangers of stepping too close. On the day of the incident, he was on duty and was called to the scene, but the hikers were already rescued by the time he arrived.
“We spoke briefly with them, but only to make sure they were fine and did not require medical aid,” Laing said. “They did say they did not see the warning signs regarding the hazards of approaching the falls.”
Waterfall injuries have been becoming more and more frequent, and outdoors experts speculate that this is because people are testing safety limits to get the best picture.
Don’t slip, survive:
- In general, stay clear of waterfalls unless you’re familiar with the area you’re hiking; if you’re close enough to get an IG-quality selfie, you’re probably in the danger zone.
- Keep an eye out for safety signs and posts on the trail.
- Calling for trained rescuers is always the best option. If the situation is too urgent to wait, improvise with what you have. Make a rope by tying together pant legs, jacket sleeves, and any extra garments made of stiff, non-stretchy material. The makeshift rope should float to make sure people can grab it from the water. Be sure that all the knots are tied tight before using it to support full body weight.
- Only attempt to help victims if you can do so without putting yourself in danger: If you end up going over the falls too, you’ll make a bad situation worse.