Campbell River Search and Rescue had a busy weekend, flying out to two rescues.
First, they were notified of a missing worker – who when found, didn’t realize he was ‘missing’ – in the Phillips Arm area by Sayward RCMP on Friday evening.
The man had gone up to Phillips Lake (about 50 kilometres from Campbell River) where he worked raising broodstock fish on Friday afternoon. He was due to check in with his employer that evening via GPS transmitter, but the transmission was not received.
Another employee went up the remote road to Phillips Lake and discovered that it was washed out due to a mudslide. Authorities were alerted at about 11 p.m. that evening.
Campbell River Search and Rescue (CRSAR) manager Tyler Abbott said weather and light conditions stopped rescuers from going in that night, as the area is only accessible by water or air and it was windy.
At first light Saturday, CRSAR members went out in a helicopter and quickly located the man at the cabin.
When they reached the man, Abbott said he was very surprised to see them.
“He wasn’t aware that the road had washed out overnight,” said Abbott, adding that the man had thought the check-in transmission had gone through, but the equipment had failed.
The man was brought out of the area safe and sound via helicopter.
And CRSAR also helped out the Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue (CVGSAR) team with a rescue in the Mt. Albert Edward area in the early hours of Sunday morning.
A 26-year-old Victoria man and his girlfriend were camping at Circlet Lake on Friday night, with plans to summit Mt. Albert Edward on Saturday.
According to a CVGSAR news release, the man “was poorly prepared for the conditions and was unfamiliar with the difficulty of traveling in alpine terrain.”
After a debate with his girlfriend about climbing the mountain in poor weather conditions, he set off to do it alone, while she stayed at Circlet Lake.
When he didn’t return to camp by 9 p.m. authorities were notified.
CRSAR sent out three members to help, as many CVGSAR members were involved in skills training that weekend.
The man’s girlfriend was extracted and interviewed promptly, but it took more time to find him.
“Weather prevented helicopter access,” said Abbott, adding that as soon as the weather cleared enough rescuers went up in a helicopter, as well as on foot.
Snow was falling on some of the mountainous terrain, which worried searchers as they thought the man may have been suffering from hypothermia.
By 1 p.m. on Sunday, he was spotted by helicopter on a ridge about 5200 feet above Circlet Lake.
“One of the Campbell River members spotted the subject in the fog and was able to make contact with him,” explained Abbott.
The man had become disoriented during his hike and had gone to the wrong lake, then followed the Oyster River drainage to the Oyster River main logging road. He found an abandoned logging fire truck and stayed there for the night before climbing back towards the mountain in the morning.
He was taken to hospital and later released.