TUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. – A trio of hikers was rescued near Wapiti Lake by Tumbler Ridge and South Peace Search and Rescue on Sunday.
Around a dozen volunteers between the two search and rescue teams responded to a call from a satellite communication device, says search manager Steve Tory.
“It was a party of three. They were hiking into the lake, one suffered an injury and they weren’t able to get out under their own power,” said Tory. “They had a satellite communication device, and so we knew exactly where they were.”
A number of factors made the rescue go smoothly.
“They knew to stay put, and they’d actually met up with some park rangers on the trail, so that was of help. It’s a pretty remote location in that particular provincial park. It might be one of the most remote provincial parks in the north, so it did take us a couple of hours to get to them, and a few more hours to get them to BC Ambulance.”
While nobody can be prepared for every situation, Tory says two things made for a successful rescue.
“One is that they have satellite communication, so there was no guesswork on where they were or what their medical condition was. That’s a huge relief for us. They were also all physically fit. If you’re not physically fit the backcountry is not a safe place.”
Tory says Tumbler Ridge SAR hasn’t been very busy so far, but that usually picks up later in the summer.
“Things tend to pick up for us in the fall when the weather in the Alpine becomes unpredictable. Hunting season certainly sees us getting out there to help hunter types, and they can be the hardest to find.”
While hunting season is a couple of months away, Tory has one tip for keeping safe.
“No matter how prepared you think you are and how much gear you’ve got, it’s a matter of some bad luck and circumstances stacking up on each other that tends to get people into the stickiest situations. A hunting buddy is the best piece of equipment you can bring.”
The pandemic has made for a shortage of recruits to Tumbler Ridge Search and Rescue. Tory says there are all kinds of roles for people to play.
“We certainly need more recruits than ever. If anyone’s interested in search and rescue, there are all kinds of roles to play. You don’t necessarily have to be on the frontline out in the woods, we’ve got something for everyone to do.”