Caught on cam: Tree slams into Courtenay, B.C. bridge

A woman and her son who were watching storm debris float past their Courtenay, B.C. home caught an unusual site on video on Monday as a large tree crashed into the city’s Fifth Street Bridge.

"There was an impressive amount of water coming down the river and there were some pretty big chunks of debris coming down at, it seemed, eye-level because the water level was really high and me and my son were out appreciating it," said Ashley Elise.

Elise says she then noticed a full-sized tree coming around the bend of where the Puntledge River transitions into the Courtenay River. The tree continued into and underneath the Fifth Street Bridge.

"It was coming broadside and I thought maybe it would get stuck at the corner," she said. "But it just kept coming. There was a large volume of water to carry it."

Her cellphone video shows the tree coming into contact with scaffolding that was in place underneath the bridge, which was being used as part of the structure’s revitalization project.

Elise says there were workers on the bridge at the time of the incident, some of whom saw the tree coming towards them.

"I just kind of hoped for the safety of the people on the bridge," she said. "It looked like they had their cameras out, you could hear them in the beginning of my video like, "Woah look at that, it’s coming,'" she said.

The city says its initial inspection indicated only negligible damage was done to the scaffolding.

"Structural integrity has been subsequently confirmed by a competent and qualified scaffold tradesperson as meeting CSA Scaffold Standards for continued access," the city said in a statement.

The city says no workers were accessing the underside of the bridge at the time of the contact.