RCMSAR Station #106’s rescue boats have responded to far fewer calls this summer than in previous years. (File photo)

Marine search and rescue less busy than previous summers on Shuswap Lake

RCMSAR station volunteers respond to six medical emergencies, most on land

The Shuswap Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) station has received far fewer calls for service this summer than in previous years.

The calls for service the local first responder group has responded to have primarily been on remote corners of the shores of Shuswap Lake rather than involving boats.

Station leader Fred Banham said RCMSAR volunteers had only received six rescue calls so far in the summer of 2019, compared to an average of 30 to 35 by early August in previous years. He added all six calls were medical in nature, requiring the search and rescue volunteers’ assistance to get patients to the hospital.

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Of the six calls, only one was due to an emergency on a boat. Banham called the lack of emergencies on boats unusual; one patient had to be taken off a houseboat and all the others have been at cabins. Emergencies have included patients suffering from heart trouble as well as one with a dislocated shoulder.

Banham said there has been less activity on the lake overall compared to past years. Based on his own observations while boating on the lake this year there appears to be less boat traffic.

The most recent emergency call for the RCMSAR volunteers happened over the August long weekend. A man was doing repairs on the roof of his cabin at Pete Martin Bay in a remote part of Anstey Arm. Banham said the man had just re-positioned his ladder and before he was able to tie off to the roof, the ladder tipped, throwing the man off the edge of the cabin’s sundeck. Banham estimated the fall at approximately 30 feet.

The man suffered a serious head injury.

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Banham said the rescue effort that followed was an excellent example of co-operation between RCMSAR and BC Ambulance crews. RCMSAR raced to the injured man’s cabin with the Sicamous ambulance crew aboard their boat. After arriving on scene and stabilizing the patient, emergency crews cleared a landing zone for the air ambulance on the beach directly in front of the cabin, allowing the man to be airlifted to hospital in Kamloops.


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