Rescuers from three different search and rescue groups and local snowmobile clubs came together to help rescue a stranded sledder.
The snowmobiler became stranded in the Blue Lake area on Friday, March 13, and was rescued the following day around 1 p.m.
Shuswap Volunteer Search and Rescue search manager Gordon Bose said the snowmobiler became separated from his friends he was riding with and went down a drainage where he became stuck. Bose said the stranded man’s friends searched for him for three hours before returning to the parking lot at Owlhead to call for help.
Bose said Shuswap SAR volunteers and local snowmobilers searched until 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. Assistance from the Vernon and Revelstoke Search and Rescue teams was called in the following morning. Bose said a pair of Shuswap SAR members who spent the night in the Blue Lake cabin were picked up by helicopter to assist the search from the air. After flying over the area that had been searched the previous night, the helicopter began checking creek drainages. After about an hour in the air they located the missing man. The SAR volunteers were dropped off and hiked in on snowshoes to prepare the man for the arrival of the Revelstoke team’s long-line helicopter. Both the rescued man and the SAR volunteers were taken off the mountain by helicopter.
A Facebook post from the Hunter’s Range Snowmobile Association states that some of their members, along with Eagle Valley Snowmobile club members and volunteers from the Vernon, Shuswap and Revelstoke search and rescue groups, worked together to rescue the snowmobiler.
The post praised the volunteers who dropped everything to rescue the sledder in need.
The rescued snowmobiler is alive and well, but Bose said he suffered some frostbite. It had been a severe night to be out in the elements — Bose said temperatures had dipped to -20C.
“It was great to see so many SAR teams all working together on a challenging task,” said a statement from Vernon Search and Rescue.