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Sledder survives cold night

Winter hazards: A snowmobiler enjoys a run on Crowfoot Mountain, but authorities are warning people to take proper precautions and survival gear before heading out. - Jeremy Brouwer photo
Winter hazards: A snowmobiler enjoys a run on Crowfoot Mountain, but authorities are warning people to take proper precautions and survival gear before heading out.
— image credit: Jeremy Brouwer photo

It was a cold, blustery night when eight members of the volunteer Shuswap Search and Rescue headed out to Crowfoot Mountain above Celista to look for a missing snowmobiler.

Several snowmobilers from Kamloops had gone to the popular spot for an afternoon of sledding.

Shuswap SAR search manager John Schut says his group received a call for assistance from the Emergency Co-ordination Centre at 10:45 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8.

A young man from Kamloops had gone missing around 3:30 in the afternoon.

“He was out snowmobiling with his friends; he got stuck and they kept going and they lost him,” says Schut, noting the event is a reminder for people to keep an eye on one another when out in the wilderness. When the friends realized the man, about 20 years old, was no longer with them, they set back to find him.

In the meantime, he managed to extricate himself and set off to find his buddies, getting lost in the process.

“Of course he wasn’t in the spot where he was before,” says Schut, pointing out the young sledder eventually ran out of gas. “He’s a smart kid, he had good clothes, the ability to make a fire and built himself a snow shelter where he hunkered down and was ready to stay for the night.”

Fortunately, a member of the Crowfoot Mountain Snowmobile Club found the missing sledder about 4:30  a.m.

Schut says that when the SAR members arrived at the parking lot at Crowfoot Mountain, they learned the snowmobile club had begun looking for the lost sledder late in the afternoon after his friends reported him missing to a parking attendant.

“They go out in groups of four,” said Schut, who noted four members of the Shuswap SAR’s “Avi Team” took part in the search.

The members of this specialized avalanche team have received training from the Canadian Avalanche Training Centre.

“It was snowing fairly heavily at times,” he says. “It wasn’t the most pleasant conditions to be looking for somebody – dark and cold, probably minus 12.”

 

 

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