3 hikers rescued by Hamilton Fire at Albion Falls face charges: city councillor

Three hikers who had to be rescued at Albion Falls on July 31 are now facing charges. Hamilton Conservation Authority

Three hikers who lost their way near Albion Falls last Wednesday, which, in turn, led to a firefighter getting hurt in a rope rescue, are now facing charges.

East Mountain councillor Tom Jackson confirmed to Global News that the city is pursuing charges and that each are facing a count of ‘being in a prohibited area.’

The trio have now been summoned to appear in court, according to Jackson.

“I am supportive of the measure that municipal law enforcement is taking,” said Jackson.

“I’m relieved the hikers were rescued and are alright, but my mercy meter for the three is at a very low level right now.”

READ MORE: Hamilton Fire perform late night rope rescue at Albion Falls

Story continues below advertisement

Jackson believes recent upgrades in fencing, warning signage and the city’s proactive safety enforcement around the attraction are more than adequate to warn would-be hikers away from danger.

In 2018, Hamilton city council also approved an additional $132,000 for safety measures around Hamilton’s waterfalls.

“The message the last two summers overall was pretty simple in terms of safety and security,” Jackson said.

As of 2017, the city has charged a fine of $135 for anyone caught in an area designated as restricted, like the area around Albion Falls. But with the involvement of court charges and a judge, Jackson anticipates the penalty will be more in $5,000 to $10,000 range.

On July 31 Hamilton Fire was called out to the Falls around 9:30 p.m. to assist with Hamilton police as they searched for three people who they say lost their way in the dark and were in need of assistance.

READ MORE: Hamilton fire chief says rope rescue that injured firefighter was ‘absolutely preventable’

Chief Dave Cunliffe revealed in a press conference the day after the rescue that close to 20 firefighters were on scene for the rescue, all wearing full safety protection.

He said the rescue was difficult due to the lack of sunlight which required crews to use flashlights, as well as verbal call-outs, to pinpoint the three lost individuals.

Story continues below advertisement

A firefighter fell seven metres during the rescue, according to Cunliffe, after he lost his footing on the edge of a path near the falls.

At last report, that firefighter was in stable condition after suffering serious injuries, according to the city’s fire department.

The incident at the falls was against a trend, according to Hamilton Fire Deputy Chief John Verbeek, who just days before the incident told Global News that rope rescues had dropped significantly to just four in the city so far in 2019 compared to 23 in 2016.

WATCH: Hamilton fire fighter in hospital after six-metre fall at Albion Falls

Click to play video: 'Hamilton fire fighter in hospital after six-metre fall at Albion Falls' Hamilton fire fighter in hospital after six-metre fall at Albion Falls
Hamilton fire fighter in hospital after six-metre fall at Albion Falls – Aug 1, 2019

Sponsored content