A training exercise turned into more than just practice for South Columbia Search and Rescue on Saturday.
The group’s winter response team was practising avalanche rescue and terrain navigation in the Salmo-Creston area when they noticed an RCMP vehicle nearby followed by an ambulance. The team hadn’t been notified of an emergency, there was no cellphone reception where they were training, but offered their help after finding out a male skier in the area had broken his leg.
“The resources all just sort of happened to be in the right place at the right time,” said South Columbia SAR president Mike Hudson.
The South Columbia team, which is based out of Fruitvale, was joined by groups from Creston, Nelson and Castlegar. The skier turned out to be near the SAR group, and it only took about an hour for them to reach him.
“They actually reached the subject before I came up in a helicoptor,” said Hudson.
Hudson said even if his team hadn’t already been onsite, it wouldn’t have taken long for other groups to reach the skier. But because they were there already, the rescue was relatively straightforward.
“There definitely would have been no issue accessing him,” said Hudson. “We were lucky he had a spot beacon with him so we were able to get a co-ordinate and go directly to him, which is fantastic. That’s why we tell people to be prepared and take that kind of stuff with them.”