Sikh hikers used their turbans to save 2 men trapped in waterfall pool

·3 min read

Five hikers in British Columbia, Canada, used their turbans to save two men on their trail when the pair unexpectedly fell into a pool below a waterfall.

Kuljinder Kinda and his four friends were hiking in Golden Ears Provincial Park on Oct. 11 when a group nearby told them two men had slipped on a slick rock, fell into a pool above the lower falls and could not pull themselves back to safety.

Video of last week's incident is now being shared widely after Kinda posted his recording on WhatsApp and it made its way to hiking channels.

Kinda said the people who stopped to help asked them to call emergency services, but they didn't have cellphone service. That’s when they came up with the idea to create a rope out of their turbans, one of five articles worn by Sikhs as a headdress usually made of cotton that protects their uncut hair.

Kuljinder Kinda, left, and his friends at Golden Ears Provincial Park in British Columbia on Oct. 11, 2021. (Courtesy Kuljinder Kinda)
Kuljinder Kinda, left, and his friends at Golden Ears Provincial Park in British Columbia on Oct. 11, 2021. (Courtesy Kuljinder Kinda)

“We were trying to think how we could get them out, but we didn’t know how to,” Kinda, an electrician originally from Punjab, India, who is Sikh, told NBC Asian America. “So we walked for about 10 minutes to find help and then came up with the idea to tie our turbans together.”

Kinda and his friends removed their turbans and other articles of clothing to securely knot the fabric together and create a 10-meter (about 33 feet) makeshift rope to safely pull the two men back onto the trail. After making the rope, they threw it down to the men and instructed them to tighten it before pulling themselves up.

"In Sikhi, we are taught to help someone in any way we can with anything we have, even our turban," Kinda said.

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Kinda also said he and his friends weren't scared for their safety at that moment.

"We just really cared about the safety of the men," he said.

The two men thanked Kinda and his friends before leaving. Their identities are currently unknown.

The British Columbia Ministry of Environment said there are warnings along the trails. “Signs on the access trails warn hikers about trail and waterfall hazards and to not proceed past the end of the established trails,” a spokesperson said.

A warning sign posted for the waterfalls on the Lower Gold Creek Falls Trail from Golden Ears Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada. (British Columbia Ministry of Environment)
A warning sign posted for the waterfalls on the Lower Gold Creek Falls Trail from Golden Ears Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada. (British Columbia Ministry of Environment)

Robert Laing, search and rescue manager at Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue, was on duty when the incident occurred and was called to the scene, but the hikers had already been rescued. "We spoke briefly with them but only to make sure they were fine and did not require medical aid," he said. "They did say they did not see the warning signs regarding the hazards of approaching the falls."

The waterfalls are behind a fenced area, he pointed out.

Laing warns hikers to be careful around the creeks and rivers in the park. "Several people are injured each year as a result of slips or falls,” Laing said. “It seems about once every one to two years, someone will be swept over the falls and die as a result of their injuries.”

The hikers have been praised for their heroism and their quick response. Sikh Community of British Columbia shared the video on Twitter and said, “Kudos to these young men for their quick thinking and selflessness.”

This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

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