Low water strands two boaters on North Thompson
October 23, 2017 - 11:48 AM
KAMLOOPS - Kamloops Search and Rescue volunteers rescued two men stranded on the North Thompson River near Barriere last night.
Search Manager Alan Hobler says someone driving by called in the stranded boat around 9 p.m. yesterday, Oct. 22. Both men were healthy and uninjured when rescued.
Hobler says the low water level of the North Thompson River is believed to be one of the factors in stranding the two men.
"(The river) is very low and there are lots of sand bars and gravel bars," he says. "And because it's low, the water is moving very slowly so you don't necessarily see the ripples and stuff where you would when the water is moving faster."
Hobler says when his crew made it to the scene, roughly 45 minutes after the call, it was very dark and a drone was needed to make a safe rescue.
"We used the infrared to actually locate where they were," he says. "And the drone was also able to locate a way that we could safely access them without using another boat so basically our members... waded out to where they were."
The Search and Rescue team has been using a drone to assist on searches for a little over a year now and the rescue would have been a much bigger challenge without the technology. Hobler says of the roughly 40 call outs they've had this year, the drone has been deployed on half of them.
"It's hard to say for sure but it certainly would have taken longer to locate them and it certainly would have taken longer to find the safest route out there," he says. "Especially when you're wading in the dark it's hard to tell how deep the water's going to be in front of you."
Hobler says it's unclear whether the pair started their trek during the day and got stranded before returning home or if they went out after dark, but because they were not reported missing it would appear they did not leave a travel plan with a responsible individual which is always recommended when going on rivers or into the backcountry.
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