Castlegar Search and Rescue saves snowboarder; seeks new recruits
Castlegar Search and Rescue (SAR) were kept on their toes this past weekend, when a training exercise morphed into a rescue call-out.
Hayden Fetterly is a SAR member who, along with 17 others from Castlegar, Rossland, South Columbia and Grand Forks SARs, was at DAM Helicopters at the West Kootenay Regional Airport, practising helicopter safety and hovering entries and exits.
That evening they got to put their skills to the test when they got a real rescue call-out to Red Mountain, where a snowboarder had become lost.
“We had a night search, but couldn’t locate him,” Fetterly said. “He built himself a snow cave and spent the night alone. We found him the next day.”
He was found in a notoriously difficult area called Esiling Creek.
There was an attempt to bring a helicopter in for the search, but weather conditions prevented the pilot from landing. Instead, snowmobiles, skiers and snowshoers conducted the search, ultimately finding the man healthy and unharmed.
“He was actually in pretty good shape,” Fetterly said. “”He was able to walk out on his own strength.”
Castlegar SAR currently has 35 volunteers, 27 of them in the field, and practices a wide range of specialized skills, including swift-water rescue, advanced rope teams, avalanche/alpine rescue teams and more.
Fetterly says they are currently recruiting, and anyone interested is welcome to show up at one of their practices every first and third Wednesday of every month at the Blueberry Fire Hall at 6:30 p.m. Alternatively, you can go to their website at www.castlegarsearchandrescue.ca