Salmon Arm  

Salmon Arm Search and Rescue answered three calls for help between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning

3 back-to-back rescues

It was a hectic few hours for members of Shuswap Search and Rescue.

A series of rescues began at 4 p.m. Friday, when crews were called to assist a snowmobiler in the Grizzly Lake area, southwest of Momich Lakes Provincial Park.

John Schut, with SSAR, says a man had injured his back trying to free his stuck snow machine and realized he needed help.

Schut said eight search and rescue members responded to the call.

“They managed to get him off the mountain at 6:30 that evening, and when they were on their way back they got a call for a missing snowmobiler in the Blue Lake area east of Sicamous,” said Schut.

“They went back to the hall, picked up more snowmobiles and more people. We had 11 people go to the Blue Lake call.”

Schut said four people were snowmobiling in the area when they split up, with two sledders going down a ravine.

Fortunately, they took at GPS co-ordinate of that location where they separated.

Schut said when two of the snowmobilers came down the mountain, the pair that split off on their own were nowhere to be seen.

“When our people arrived, they had a GPS co-ordinate to start from, which was excellent, but these guys were way down this drainage,” said Schut, adding the rescuers got as close as they could on snowmobiles, but because the terrain was so steep, they had to snowshoe the rest of the way.

The rescuers carried extra snowshoes with them so the sledders could hike out to safety.

The two men were taken down the mountain, where they were checked to ensure they were in good health.

“By then, it was 7 o'clock in the morning, and they were returning when they got another call,” Schut said.

“This one was for a severely hypothermic patient, and those same 11 people, after being up all night long, went to help this person.”

SSAR members hiked a kilometre to reach the patient in the Gleneden area. The man was taken to a waiting ambulance and flown to Kelowna via air ambulance, in critical condition.

RCMP and fire crews were also called to the scene after receiving a call about a fire on Second Nations Road. Police said two people were able to successfully escape from the building.

A Salmon Arm RCMP officer tracked a set of footprints in the fresh snow and followed them into the thick bush behind the residence, where the officer found an unconscious man lying in the snow.

The officer noticed the man was in distress and immediately started CPR.

A second officer from the Kelowna Police Dog Section also made his way down to the road to help SSAR members find their way to the unconscious man.

“The Salmon Arm officer stayed with the man and performed CPR for one hour until Salmon Arm Search and Rescue were able to attend their location,” said Cpl. Luiz Sardinha.

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