After a quiet summer, Campbell River Search and Rescue members have been called to action three times in the last 10 days. They were involved in two big news-making operations at Mt. Arrowsmith and Mt. Albert Edward and, as well, had their own search on Hansen Island, at the North end of Johnstone Strait, just this morning.
In this case, a young archaeologist had failed to return to camp last evening after becoming separated from the group. His woods training saved him from becoming utterly lost and wandering in circles. The worker was able to follow a compass bearing that led him to the island coastline not far from camp. Just as searchers arrived by helicopter, the lost person was picked up by a co-worker in a boat and returned to camp.
Search manager Alex Michaels said, “We never get upset about being called into a search, only to find that the lost person has showed up on his own. We always encourage people to call 911 to activate search and rescue at the first opportunity, because of the possibility that the overdue person could become injured or hypothermic and may need medical help as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, the big search for the two missing men on Mt. Albert Edward also involved several Campbell River members, who covered many kilometres of trail and bush in snow, rain and darkness. Tim Fairbank, one of the searchers, stated, “There is a whole community of search and rescue groups throughout Vancouver Island who will come out and bolster any group requiring help from trained volunteers. After a few years, you get to know the regulars and learn to work with them just as effectively as working with our own teammates. We swap stories, compare our groups’ strengths and weaknesses, and learn from each other.”
This search ended happily as the two men survived almost five days out in some of the worst weather possible for this time of year.