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Video: Freak wave caused by ship nearly drowns woman at Garry Point Park

The frightening video shows bewildered people on the walking path as log booms from the wave sweep past them Friday morning

Dramatic video has emerged of a frightening accident at Garry Point Park in Steveston this morning, where a woman was nearly drowned after a passing ship caused a mini-tsunami.

The video – shot by Richmond News reader Priscilla Romero – shows giant log booms being thrust ashore by the force of the wave, which swept over the walking path next to the beach around 9:30 a.m.

Several people, including a couple of dog walkers, can be seen in the video being taken by total surprise as the debris from the beach washes past them, with the container ship in question sailing passed in the background.

One of the dog walkers, according to Romero, got dragged down onto the beach by the force of the retreating wave and logs and had to be attended to by paramedics.

Once the water from the south arm of the Fraser River had subsided, log booms and other marine debris was left marooned on the walking path.

In a statement to the News, BC Emergency Health services confirmed it received a call around 9:30 a.m. for a near drowning at the park. A paramedic crew was dispatched to the scene, where they cared for one patient, who was then transported to hospital in stable condition. 

The News reported an eerily similar story about a decade ago, when a family fishing on the beach at almost the exact same spot at Garry Point Park got sucked into the river by a retreating mini-tsunami, also caused by a passing ship.

Although a subsequent investigation by the Transportation and Safety Board (TSB) was unable to find an exact cause or fault, it was apparent that the freak wave was likely caused by “displacement” caused by a passing vessel.

Waves can sometimes be caused when water rushed in to fill displacement caused by a large vessel, then moves back out again moments later.