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Lost B.C. snowmobiler praised for ‘spot-on’ survival response

Click to play video: 'Lost B.C. snowmobiler praised for ‘spot on’ survival response' Lost B.C. snowmobiler praised for ‘spot on’ survival response
South Cariboo Search and Rescue says a 17-year-old sledder who became lost in the backcountry did everything right while waiting for rescue. When crews found him, he'd sheltered in a snow cave he built himself with food and water. – Jan 17, 2021

A B.C. search-and-rescue team is commending the actions of a 17-year-old snowmobiler who “did everything right” after getting lost this weekend.

The sledder was out with a group Saturday afternoon near Mica Mountain, northeast of Canim Lake, when he became separated from the group.

His party realized he was missing when they met at the parking lot, according to 100 Mile House RCMP. Some of the group stayed to look for him, while others went to contact South Cariboo Search and Rescue and police.

Read more: Tragic end to search for missing Ontario snowshoer on B.C.’s North Shore Mountains

But it’s what happened in the backcountry that drew praise from search crews.

South Cariboo Search and Rescue search manager James Seely said the teen made multiple attempts to retrace his steps, but when he realized he was lost he hunkered down.

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“He had parked his sled in a wide-open place, and then gone back to the tree line and made himself a snow cave to stay warm,” he said.

“He wasn’t prepared to stay overnight, he couldn’t make a fire, but he did have some food and water with him. By getting out of the elements, keeping himself warm and not exhausting himself and that sort of thing he did exactly the right thing.”

Seely said the teen had some backcountry training, and it showed.

Click to play video: 'Injured snowmobiler rescued by Vernon Search and Rescue' Injured snowmobiler rescued by Vernon Search and Rescue
Injured snowmobiler rescued by Vernon Search and Rescue – Dec 30, 2020

Crews located the teen around 10:30 p.m.

Seely also had good things to say about the other members of the teen’s party, who it said did the right thing by going for help when they realized they had exhausted their knowledge of the area.

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“The friends started texting for help … those friends did the right thing by not going further afield in the darkness and creating a bigger problem for us. In other words, we’re only searching for one person instead of several,” he said.

 

Read more: Search crews find missing snowmobiler dead, say Revelstoke RCMP

Rescuers are reminding all backcountry users to always be prepared for the unexpected, noting that getting stuck out after dark “can happen just that quickly.”

Seely said anyone heading into the backcountry should make sure they have some training, and pack in a number of essential items, including shovels, probes, beacons, extra food, extra water and a way to make a fire and be prepared to stay overnight.

“Things happen really quickly up here,” he said.

“It gets dark really quickly, cloud cover can come in and confuse your way.”

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