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One injured in two Nelson backcountry New Year’s Eve rescues

Incidents were near Whitewater and Kootenay Pass
One person was injured in an incident at Kootenay Pass on New Year’s Eve. Photo: Submitted

On New Year’s Eve, Nelson Search and Rescue (NSAR) responded to two calls, according to a post on the organization’s Facebook page.

The first call came at 2:00 p.m. from Whitewater Ski Resort with a report of a significant size three avalanche outside their ski area in the Whale’s Back area of Evening Ridge.

“Seven people were involved in the incident, however Whitewater Ski Patrol were able to quickly determine that none were buried or injured,” the post states.

NSAR conducted a search using a helicopter-mounted avalanche transceiver and concluded that no other groups were caught. Whale’s Back is adjacent to the slope where an avalanche occurred earlier in the week, involving four people and two dogs.

The second call came to assist Castlegar Search and Rescue at 3:30 p.m. while the NSAR teams were still involved in the avalanche search.

An SOS signal had been sent from a group of six below Lightning Strike Ridge at Kootenay Pass. Teams were re-assigned to this incident that resulted in a knee injury to one person.

“With lack of light for a helicopter evacuation and temperatures again dropping below -20, ground teams were able to rescue the subject and hand him off to the BC Ambulance waiting on Highway 3A near Kootenay Pass summit.

“All 15 members of Nelson and Castlegar SAR were home by 11:30 p.m., in time to ring in the new year with their families.”

Nelson Search and Rescue is a volunteer organization whose members are highly training and respond to calls including rope rescue, swiftwater rescue, avalanche rescue, lake rescue, and first aid.