“Hit us hard”: Young man from India identified as Lynn Canyon victim

Jul 10 2024, 1:00 am

Family and friends are sharing their heartbreak and pain over the death of a 21-year-old man who died last week while cliff jumping in the District of North Vancouver’s Lynn Canyon Park.

Harman Sandhu was critically injured after jumping several metres off the Twin Falls Bridge into the treacherous and fast-moving water below on July 3, and despite efforts from first responders, he succumbed to his injuries.

Swaroop Sodha, a friend from Sandhu’s hometown in India, said the young man was a passionate basketball player and a loyal person. Sodha said Sandhu had a real spirit for adventure, which had prompted him to move to Canada after school, away from his hometown of Jaipur.

They had kept in touch despite the distance, and he is among those devastated by the news of Sandhu’s passing and left with many questions about what happened that day.

“Harman went out to the Twin Falls with friends of his friends, and the reports that say he didn’t know how to swim are completely false, blaming all of it as if he jumped being that stupid. He knew how to swim, but he didn’t have any experience jumping from such a height,” he told Daily Hive.

Adding, “he wasn’t fully confident jumping in, and it was peer pressure he finally caved to. While going down in the waterfall, he hit a rock on the head, which made him unconscious, and as he reached the bottom of the fall, he drowned.”

Witnesses report that the young man was unsure of his decision to jump and that the crowd had been egging him on.

According to first responders, he was found lower down in the river, but he was badly hurt by the time firefighters were able to pull him to shore, where they performed CPR. He was then put into a helicopter for transport to hospital.

There are some areas of the river that are safe for swimming, but this spot is not among them. The area in the canyon is a popular spot for thrill-seekers and has been the site of many deaths in years past due in large part to the unpredictable conditions.

“The canyon there, the water is stronger than people anticipate, and it’s very easy to get in trouble, and when the current has you, you are really at its mercy, ” North Shore Search and Rescue volunteer Scott Merriman told Daily Hive about the dangers.

“There’s pretty clear signage at Lynn Headwaters at the suspension bridge, highlighting the dangers and how many fatalities we’ve had here. All of that area is fenced off.”

The death is among several callouts from first responders to this area in recent days. A heatwave continues in the region, leading to heightened warnings about the risks, especially to BC’s waterways.

Lynn Valley, North Vancouver

EB Adventure Photography/Shutterstock

Men between 19 and 29 make up the highest percentage of drownings in the province, according to a BC Coroner’s Service report released last month. In the last 10 years, most of the deaths have occurred in rivers, lakes, or creeks. Nearly 90% of the victims were residents of BC. July is, on average, the deadliest month.

However, for those who knew him, it’s important that he’s more than just a statistic.

“Harman was carefree; he worried about not being able to live his life to the fullest and turning old and having responsibilities later on. So he tried to participate in new things all the time, and in all of his friends’ eyes, he fairly succeeded.”

Sodha said he was told it was the people with his friend who called for help, but he wants to know why they didn’t look after him and warn him before he jumped since he didn’t know the area or the risks.

“He was stupidly adventurous; he was an adrenaline junkie for sure. This is one of the reasons why he wanted to move someplace new and have new experiences altogether,” he said about his friend.

“Harman going away like this has hit us hard, which I don’t think his friends or family are able to accept yet. It makes you understand that one should never try to do something their conscience doesn’t allow them to and fall prey to petty things like peer pressure,” he added.

Sodha reflected that he and his friend shared the same love of music.

“We used to joke around about joining the 21 Club, which is basically how some of our favourite artists died at the age of 21. We didn’t know it would actually come true for Harman. There is a verse in a song named “‘Legends’ by Juice Wrld: ‘What’s the 27 Club? We ain’t making it past 21,'” he told Daily Hive.

“These lyrics have never hit us harder.”

Harman Sandhu

gofundme

His loved ones have started an online fundraiser on Tuesday. In it, Sandhu is described as a “beloved member of our community.”

“In this difficult time, we are urgently seeking your support to raise funds to transport Harman’s body back to India, where his family awaits to perform his last rites. Your contribution will help alleviate the financial burden on his grieving family and ensure that Harman can be laid to rest with the dignity and respect he deserves,” the fundraiser reads in part.

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