What could have been a fatal outcome for a handful of snowmobilers last weekend in northern Saskatchewan instead turned into a happy ending.
A team comprised of concerned family members, Saskatchewan RCMP and the Canadian Rangers were able to locate a group of snowmobilers who spent the night in -35 C weather overnight after they became stranded.
RCMP shared in a release on Monday that five adult snowmobilers were stuck on a bitterly cold Dec. 18 night in a remote area near Clam Lake, Sask., about 70 km northwest of La Ronge, Sask.
Members of the La Ronge RCMP detachment learned that the snowmobilers were stranded after they had become stuck in muskeg. Police said the group spent the night outside in frigid temperatures.
“They had winter gear on, some supplies and a fire going — but one of the snowmobilers had become wet from the muskeg and was extremely cold,” read the release from the RCMP.
“They had a faint cell signal and were able to ask for help — but then the communications stopped.”
A search and rescue team was organized to travel to the area and find the deserted snowmobilers.
“It was a life-threatening situation,” explained Cpl. Shane Marion of the La Ronge RCMP. “The temperatures had dropped to -35°C or -40°C. There is real danger in temperatures like that — that kind of exposure to the elements could lead to hypothermia, which can be fatal.”
Two of the five snowmobilers met the search team at the trailhead after they travelled to look for assistance. They were able to provide searchers with the location and status of the three still stuck on the trail.
RCMP say the family located the remaining snowmobilers who were brought back to the trailhead with assistance from the Rangers and RCMP.
Police add that the individuals were assessed by paramedics who reported they were in good health and cleared to head back home.
“We were very happy,” Cpl. Marion said. “With those frigid conditions, we knew these people were in danger and time was of the essence. We thank the family and the Canadian Rangers for helping get them back to safety — and warmth — quickly.”