ROSSLAND, B.C. — Search and rescue teams had a busy day on Sunday, as they successfully brought home four people who’d been reported lost in the backcountry around Rossland.
Two snowboarders went missing from Red Mountain on Saturday after going out of bounds and were rescued Sunday afternoon.
“We have a team in there right now. We sent a helicopter into a remote location. We brought some snowshoes into our team members for the subjects and they are going to walk out to a location where the helicopter can pick them up,” Gord Ihlen, operations manager for Castlegar Search and Rescue (CSAR), explained just before 1 p.m. on Sunday. “That’s what we’re doing right now. Hopefully, the weather stays good for a little bit here and the helicopter will be able to pick up our two subjects and our two team members.”
The Rossland News does not yet know how the two men ended up out of bounds, but they were stuck outside overnight because search and rescue team members were unable to reach them.
“They’re probably hypothermic at this point, but the last check they were ambulatory, which means they’re able to walk,” said Ihlen.
“The place where they are is the backside of the mountain heading down toward Big Sheep Creek area, so it’s a very nasty area in there,” he added.
Search and rescue received the call sometime between 10:30 and 11 p.m. and were already in the midst of an operation in the Paulson Pass.
Luckily the two snowboarders had some supplies and were in good health.
Around 1:35 p.m. the two men arrived back at RED Mountain by helicopter and were reunited with their families.
That was less than two hours after local search and rescue teams had recovered two cross-country skiers from the Paulson Pass.
“They went off trail, too, and got into an area that they couldn’t get themselves out of,” said Ihlen. “So we sent a team in there. They were able to locate them; they weren’t able to walk them out.”
He was unsure what physical condition the skiers were in, but said a helicopter with a winch system was brought in to get them out.
Teams from all over the West Kootenay responded to both incidents, including CSAR, Rossland Search and Rescue, Grand Forks Search and Rescue, Kaslo Search and Rescue, Nelson Search and Rescue, South Columbia Search and Rescue and the helicopter winching team from Vernon.
“Looks like a successful day,” said Ihlen. “We’ve got four people that spent the night in the bush, and they’re all coming out and seem to be in good shape.”