Five hikers in British Columbia used their turbans to save two men on their trail when the pair unexpectedly fell into a pool below a waterfall.
Kuljinder Kinda and four friends were hiking in Golden Ears Provincial Park on Oct. 11 when a group nearby told them that two men had slipped on a slick rock and fallen into a pool above the lower falls and could not pull themselves back to safety.
Video of the incident is 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 headdresses usually made of cotton that protects their uncut hair.
“We were trying to think how we could get them out, but we didn’t know how to,” said Kinda, an electrician originally from Punjab, India, who is Sikh. “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. They threw the rope down to the men and instructed them to tighten it before they pulled themselves up.
"In Sikhi, we are taught to help someone in any way we can with anything we have, even our turban," Kinda said.
Kinda said he and his friends weren't scared for their safety.
"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 unknown.
The British Columbia Environment Ministry 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.
Richard Laing, the 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,” he 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.”
CORRECTION (Oct. 21, 2021, 1:30 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the first name of a search and rescue official. He is Richard Laing, not Robert Laing.