Campbell River Search and Rescue evacuated four people from Raft Cove near Holberg after several landslides cut off access to the isolated area Saturday.
Port Hardy RCMP received a call on Saturday afternoon from the family of a woman who had driven out to the northwest coast of Vancouver Island between Raft Cove and San Josef Bay. The woman planned to walk into a surfers’ shack for a couple of days, but did not return when expected.
Heavy rains had washed out the road in several places and the woman was stranded.
On Sunday morning, battling heavy winds and rough flying conditions, two Campbell River Search and Rescue (CRSAR) members and an RCMP officer flew along the logging road to investigate.
“The woman was located safely at her vehicle, but completely unable to return to civilization without help, as the washouts would have been extremely hazardous, if not impossible to walk across,” said CR SAR search manager Tim Fairbank.
The woman was picked up and flown to town, leaving the fate of her vehicle to insurance adjusters. The RCMP had been told from the forest operators that the road might never be repaired.
What came as a surprise at the idyllic west coast hideaway, was that three other men from Victoria were in the same predicament. While they knew about the washout, they did not realize the implications, and were planning on a couple more days of surfing.
The search and rescue volunteers soon talked the men into being evacuated as well.
After a long day of flying around Island mountains and shoreline, the volunteers had only returned home for a few minutes, when the next call came in.
The B.C. Ambulance service had requested their assistance in extracting a woman from the Beaver Lodge Lands with a broken leg after an ATV accident.
Fairbank said, “In the end, city fire crews and ambulance staff had things pretty well under control, but our people still headed out to see if they could help. This day was a good example of the variety of calls we respond to. We might be asked to search in town for a missing person one day, and the next fly up to a Coast Range mountain top to pick up an injured climber. Our territory is huge.”
“In June of this year, we had only had four calls. Now we are up to 40 to date, which is above average, so summer and fall were incredibly busy.”