Paramedics transport injured paraglider Paul Harvey to a waiting air ambulance last Wednesday. Harvey's sister says her brother's survival is 'a miracle.'

Paraglider injured on South Surrey waterfront expected to walk again

BC Emergency Health Services defends reaction time against witnesses’ criticism

The sister of a paraglider who fell hundreds of feet onto a Semiahmoo Bay sandbar last week says it’s “a miracle” her brother survived the impact.

“He’s recovering from a lot of trauma to his body, and if there is a god he was there for sure that day because this is a miracle… that he survived, that he talked while he waited to be rescued! That he will apparently be able to walk…,” Cat Summer told Peace Arch News Monday via Facebook.

Summer’s brother, Paul Harvey, was airlifted to Royal Columbian Hospital from the waterfront last Wednesday afternoon following the fall, which occurred just before noon.

He was placed in an induced coma and underwent multiple surgeries, Summer said.

Witnesses reported seeing him practising take-offs and landings in a motorized paraglider before running into trouble at a higher altitude and “spiralling straight down” onto the sandbar.

Summer said her brother suffered multiple broken bones, including his neck, back, legs, arm and pelvis, and has “an enormous amount of recovery ahead.”

Firefighters, police and paramedics were all dispatched to the scene.

Friday, BC Emergency Health Services’ executive vice-president Linda Lupini defended the pace of the rescue crews, which had been criticized by some witnesses as slow and confused.

Lupini said it as “a very good example of how when you go to a scene you can’t be panicked.”

Mark Hinkson was among those concerned. He re-emphasized his concerns in a voice message to Peace Arch News Saturday that also criticized PAN’s reporting that first responders had “raced” to the scene.

“It took them a long, long time and all of us eyewitnesses are very upset and frustrated about it, including bad reporting,” he said.

Lupini, however, said the response unfolded as it should have.

“In spite of what appeared to bystanders, this was actually a very, very good response,” she told PAN. “It was co-ordinated, the patient received good care.”

Lupini said fire crews arrived at the site in nine minutes, with advanced-care paramedics just three minutes behind them. A Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft and air ambulance were dispatched at the outset, she added, and the patient was loaded into the helicopter and en route to a trauma hospital “within an hour.”

Criticisms included that paramedics walked from the Semiahmoo Park parking lot to the victim, and that crews did a lot of standing around.

However, Lupini said it was a call with “very complex logistics” that required crews to first connect with a technical advisor, as per WorkSafeBC regulations. She said the incoming tide and related risks of a rescue in those conditions were part of that assessment.

Unlike in the movies, paramedics don’t run into a scene or run with equipment, Lupini added.

“To a bystander, they might have looked like they were standing around and hanging out. They are trained to be very calm and to walk. They can’t be racing with equipment into… situations that might create complications. They can’t do that.”

Lupini said she is sympathetic to the bystanders’ concerns – noting any wait for help “feels like an eternity” – but described the criticisms as “disheartening for my paramedics.”

Officials with the Transportation Safety Board said the incident is not under investigation.

“We’re aware of it and we have gathered and will document some of the data… but are not carrying out an active investigation,” Bill Yearwood, TSB’s manager of aviation accident investigations, said Thursday.

Yearwood described the aircraft as “quite rudimentary… just one step different from a parachute.”

Transport Canada requires them to be registered, and incidents involving them are not common, Yearwood said.

“If we found that there was a slew of these and there was a systemic problem with them… of course, we would look into it more and encourage the regulator” to make changes.

Summer said she could not comment on the response, as she was not there.

She described her brother as “extremely kind and generous with a huge heart.”

He loves adventure and flying, and has always had no fear, she said.

A GoFundMe page ( has been set up to help with costs associated with Harvey’s injuries.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Poor ventilation likely cause of carbon monoxide incident at Delta farm

All 42 patients have been released from hospital, according to Delta Fire

LETTER: Township has much to do the day before Christmas

A Langley letter writer shares her prose about Township Langley council preparing for Christmas Day.

Santa, Moana drop in on Aldergrove children’s party: PHOTOS

Annual Christmas party for children hosted by Aldergrove Elks

North Langley boys fight to finish ahead of Clayton’s Lord Tweedsmuir

Tsumura Basketball Invitational action wrapped up Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

Langley families spend time with the man in red

Willows Church hosted a Santa Claus Breakfast Saturday morning, attracting lots of folks.

VIDEO: Goalie of Langley-based Giants kept door shut to U.S. league-leaders

Vancouver G-Men defeated the Winterhawks Tuesday 5-3 at LEC, now 1-0 in Portland Friday night.

Aldergrove Kodiaks fall to Flames

Kodiaks assistant captain Kyle Bosko scored the team’s only two goals in a 2-5 loss

Aldergrove Secondary celebrates 60th anniversary

Aldergrove Secondary School is celebrating “60 years of Totems” with an open house on May 12, 2018.

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

VIDEO: Man frustrated that Vancouver taxi driver won’t take him home to New Westminster

Kuldip Gill says that not being able to get a ride to the suburbs is a constant problem

Legacy of Amanda Todd lives on through B.C. foundation

Todd’s mother Carol stresses the importance of putting the phone down and talking with children

UPDATE: Train hits hydro pole, causes outage near Deltaport

No injuries reported but traffic in and out of Deltaport is blocked

VIDEO: Vancouver Whitecaps acquire star striker Kei Kamara

Kamara has 103 goals and 39 assists in 298 appearances over 11 Major League Soccer seasons

Most Read