On Monday July 10 2017 18:28 hrs. CRSAR responded to a call from the Port McNeill RCMP to assist with a potential drowning on Lukwa Creek near the Woss townsite. As we were mobilizing we received further information that this was probably a fatality we were dealing with. A team of Swift Water Technicians flew from Campbell River to Woss in a helicopter. After a quick aerial search they spotted a male subject in Lukwa Creek. The helicopter landed on a gravel bar at the mouth of Lukwa Creek at the Nimpkish River, and walked a short distance up the Creek to find a male subject deceased in the water. RCMP and BC Ambulance Service members were unable to access the site due to the steep terrain on both sides of the creek so CRSAR members performed a body recovery and airlifted the subject out to the RCMP.
It was an unfortunate ending, but our members know that not all calls end with success, and we were able to recover the subject for the peace of mind of the family. B.C. SAR groups have access to a provincial Critical Incident Stress Management system. Members who were on scene attend a debriefing, which allows them an opportunity to discuss events in a supportive environment. Critical incident stress is a big issue in the first responder world and we take it very seriously; we have a robust system to help our members deal with critical incident stress and mental health issues that arise for line of duty calls.