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Rescuers ‘race’ to meet the Golden Hour

Swift water team leader Sean Darcy (left) rescues “victim” Dave Goldrup from a rock in the middle of the Campbell River. Local search and rescue volunteers took part in a scenario involving an overturned raft on Tuesday evening. - Paul Rudan/The Mirror
Swift water team leader Sean Darcy (left) rescues “victim” Dave Goldrup from a rock in the middle of the Campbell River. Local search and rescue volunteers took part in a scenario involving an overturned raft on Tuesday evening.
— image credit: Paul Rudan/The Mirror

It’s called the Golden Hour and there’s no money involved.

These 60 minutes are all about life or death, and it’s a mindset ingrained in the people who volunteer with Campbell River Search and Rescue; get a victim medical aid in an hour, they might live, but maybe not if the rescue takes longer.

That’s why, on Tuesday evening, members were on the Campbell River, by the logging bridge, to conduct a training session that would push their ability to rescue “victims” within that Golden Hour.

“For us, this type of training is really valuable,” says volunteer and swift water instructor Jamie Turco. “For a call-out like this scenario, a multi-person rescue, there are only so many volunteers available and you have to properly allocate your resources.”

In this case, the scenario involved a reckless river guide – pointedly ironic because Turco is a veteran river guide – who overturns a raft spilling six passengers into the cold, fast-moving water.

Four get stuck on a large rock in the middle of the river; one is unconscious, one is hypothermic, another is in shock, and the fourth is also in shock and angry because of the accident. Further down the river, two more rafters are by the shore, beside a steep bank; one is unconscious and the other has medical issues. Turco, along with search manager Grant Cromer, directed the volunteers between the two rescue sites as the light of the day quickly dimmed. In the end, all the victims were safely rescued from the rock. The unconscious victim by the bank was hoisted to safety, but the last person, who required a stretcher, didn’t make it up within the Golden Hour.

“We had a debriefing and there were some issues with limited personnel,” said Turco. “It was also a good opportunity for the public to see what we do and where their donations go to buy rescue equipment.”

Campbell River Search and Rescue practice every Tuesday.Visit crsar.ca for more info.

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