$15,000 worth of SAR lifesaving gear stolen and damaged in Hanes Valley
WATCH: Volunteers with North Shore Rescue are stunned to find out one of their remote emergency caches — stocked with supplies to help rescue people — was recently broken into and ransacked. Tanya Beja reports.
Members of the North Shore Rescue were stunned to find one of their remote emergency caches stocked with lifesaving supplies and equipment to help in the event of a rescue was broken into, vandalized and items stolen.
At some point over the weekend, someone broke into the cache located in a remote area in Hanes Valley and stole $15,000 worth of equipment that included sleeping bags, first aid kits, rescue ropes and a chainsaw. Adding to the theft, they used SAR’s own chainsaw to destroy the helicopter emergency landing pad at the site.
The vandalism to the cache in Hanes Valley, which is a three to four hour hike from Lynn Headwaters, is a huge blow to NSR. The equipment is paramount to the members rescue efforts and without it, any rescue mission in the area is severely jeopardized.
“Someone took a lot of effort to smash the lock off and get into our kit and steal a lot of lifesaving equipment,” Curtis Jones, member of NSR, told Global News.
“We’re not talking about a couple of stoves. We’re talking about rope rescue gear, first aid kits, the stuff that saves lives.”
For Jones, son of the late NSR team leader Tim Jones, the theft hits close to home because the cache program was put in place for the team by his father before he passed away this year.
The caches give rescue members access to critical equipment in remote areas without having to carry it in themselves and as NSR manager Mike Danks says, the caches are a huge priority for them and the people they’re trying to save.
“Number one they’re here for our members’ safety… and when members of the public are lost back here, we can access these caches to get stoves, chainsaws, tents, any lifesaving equipment we can use to access those patients and keep them safe and alive overnight,” Danks says.
Along with caches, NSR has landing zones where its helicopter can land safely and at the Hanes Valley site, the pad was cut up with their own chainsaw. The alleged vandals also used the chainsaw to cut up the map board that was posted to show people their orientation and where to go in the area. NSR will have to haul in more timber to rebuild the pad.
Three NSR members spent the afternoon going through the cache and trying to figure out what equipment was missing, damaged or destroyed. Danks says that half of the cache’s contents, essentially the expensive equipment, have been taken.
Now the team will have to find a way to replace the lifesaving equipment, which was provided solely by public donations.
“We’re going to have to reach out to the community for support,” Danks says. “All the equipment we have in these caches is from donations from the public. It’s not cheap stuff, it’s very expensive equipment we need to save lives.”
I’m trying to make sense of it, it’s hard for me. It’s a really poor thing they’ve done.”
Anyone with information regarding the theft and vandalism is asked to contact NSR at (604) 969-7005.