January 27, 2016 - 1:08 PM
VERNON - A pair of snowmobilers in their mid-20s were very happy to see search and rescue crews after getting stuck in treacherous terrain Tuesday night.
Shuswap Search and Rescue was called out at 6:40 p.m., Jan. 26, to the Owl’s Head snowmobile area east of Sicamous for a report of two snowmobilers in distress, search manager John Schut says. Fourteen rescue members along with back up from the Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club rallied for the search.
Fortunately, the pair were fairly well-prepared and brought an emergency beacon, which they activated after getting stuck at Blue Lake, a steep, bowl-shaped ravine. The coordinates helped narrow down the search, but it was still no easy task, Schut says.
“If you consider the terrain they were in and the darkness, and visibility, it’s quite a treacherous thing getting down into that area. Even with GPS coordinates it was really difficult for the men to get to these fellows,” Schut says.
Rescuers snowmobiled out to within half a kilometre of the men, then snowshoed through steep, treed terrain, reaching them around 3 a.m.
“They had actually built a fire and done quite well at keeping themselves preserved through the night,” Schut says. “They were happy to see us, they were wet and cold.”
The pair had apparently been snowmobiling around Blue Lake, but couldn’t get out of the steep terrain.
“They kept looking for a way out, as they continued to look and try to get their sleds out they’d get further and further in. At a certain point in time they realized they weren’t going to save the sleds and it was time to save themselves.”
The men were looked over by paramedics at the parking lot, but were discharged in good health, Schut says.
Search and rescue is reminding the public to be safe and use common sense while enjoying the backcountry.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016