Trio of searches all end well

Three call-outs in 10 days all had happy endings for Campbell River Search and Rescue

Three call-outs in 10 days all had happy endings for Campbell River Search and Rescue.

Local volunteers took part in two large-scale events and then, Thursday morning, were called out to Hanson Island where a lost archaeologist was found just as searchers arrived.

“We never get upset about being called in to a search, only to find that the lost person has showed up on their own,” said search manager Alex Michaels in a news release. “We always encourage people to call 911 to activate search and rescue at the first opportunity because of the possibility that the overdue person could become injured or hypothermic and need medical help as soon as possible.”

On Sept. 22, local members were among a group of 40 volunteer searchers from around the island who assisted in the extrication of an injured hiker off Mt. Arrowsmith.

Campbell River members also joined in the huge search for two overdue hikers who failed to return on time from their trip to Mt. Albert Edward in Strathcona Provincial Park.

For four days, Jean-Simon Lessard, 22, and Christopher Yao, 31, were stranded in bad weather near Moat Lake, just a few kilometres away from their intended destination.

The two Victoria men had apparently been warned about impeding bad weather when they set out on their hike last Friday, but ignored the advice. It wasn’t long before a storm hit, bringing high winds, frigid temperatures, snow and fog to the alpine region, and the two men realized they were headed the wrong way.

Fortunately, the two experienced hikers hunkered down and were found in good shape Wednesday. The search involved RCMP and military helicopters from CFB Comox, along with a private chopper, and several well-trained searchers who hiked through waist-deep snow and the extreme weather.

“There is a whole community of search and rescue groups throughout Vancouver Island who will come out and bolster any group requiring help from trained volunteers,” said Tim Fairbank, who took part in the search.

Campbell River Search and Rescue is recruiting new members right now for a training program beginning in early 2014. For more information visit www.crsar.ca