Sheilah Sweatman's family was in Nelson last week for the inquest.

Sweatman made a difference

It was an emotional six days at the Nelson courthouse last week as details of the Sheilah Sweatman tragedy were brought to light.

It was an emotional six days at the Nelson courthouse last week as details of the Sheilah Sweatman tragedy on the Goat River in 2011 were brought to light.

The Nelson Search and Rescue volunteer lost her life doing what she loved: helping people. The coroner’s inquest was charged with trying to ensure it never happens again.

Our hearts continue to go out to the Sweatman family who arrived for the inquest from Manitoba. Every day they have to live with the grief of losing a daughter and sister. Their courage to face the details of the fatal rescue operation in hopes of making greater change is to be admired.

“There’s nothing happy about this for us, but I think Sheilah’s legacy will be a big improvement in standards,” said father Wynn Sweatman after the recommendations were handed down over the weekend.

Our sympathies are also extended to the Nelson Search and Rescue volunteers who had to take the stand and relive the horrible events of that June operation near Creston.

Some of the most heart-wrenching testimony came from local search and rescue veteran Chris Armstrong who had to deal with what he called a “catastrophic series of events beyond my imagination.”

What had to make it more difficult for Armstrong and those on the scene that day was having their every move scrutinized. In order to get answers, the questions had to be asked. It couldn’t have been easy for any member of that day’s operation.

It emerged that “planning failures” contributed to Sweatman’s death. In any deep analysis of rescue operations, it would impossible not to find flaws. In no way should the inquest cast a negative light on the great work being done by search and rescue volunteers in our community. These people take calculated risks to help people in trouble. Most of the time, it has a happy ending, but the nature of their work is inherently dangerous.

Like all search and rescue volunteers, Sheilah Sweatman unselfishly put her skills to work to make a difference. The inquest recommendations will hopefully ensure she continues to do so.

 

Just Posted

Campbell scores in OT as Leafs outlast Nitehawks 7-6

Nelson gave up three leads against rival Beaver Valley

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Applications sought for annual Nelson heritage award

Deadline for submissions is Oct. 30.

Playmor Junction daycare expansion faces opposition

Neighbours upset with rezoning application, citing traffic, noise and concerns about future uses

Trafalgar Thunder take gold in Oliver

The Thunder knocked out the top seed in the semis en route to gold

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

Most Read