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Province mourns loss of search and rescue member Sweatman: Premier

Premier Christy Clark

Premier Christy Clark and Solicitor General Shirley Bond offered condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Ymir resident Sheilah Sweatman, the BC Volunteer Search and Rescue technician who lost her life in the course of her duties on Wednesday.

“I want to express my heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of this brave woman who lost her life during this Search and Rescue call-out," said Premier Clark.

"As a province, we are extremely fortunate to have so many dedicated Search and Rescue volunteers who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. My thoughts and prayers are with Sheilah Sweatman’s family” and the community of Ymir and Nelson.

It was with deep sorrow that Solicitor General Bond said she learned of the tragic loss of Sweatman, a 29-year-old resident of Ymir.

“This is a tragic example of the risk SAR personnel face and we will provide any support that is needed,” said Bond of the Goat River tragedy. “We cannot begin to express our gratitude to the thousands of SAR volunteers in this province who provide an invaluable service, giving selflessly of their time, to keep the public safe.”

The British Columbia Search & Rescue Association has suffered an immense tragedy," said Don Bindon, president of BC Search and Rescue Association.

"Words cannot express the sympathy we feel for the family, friends and colleagues of (Sheilah),” he said. “Each day we accept that Search and Rescue work is not without risk but when it happens we realize we can never be prepared.”

On Wednesday, June 29, the RCMP contacted BC Volunteer Search and Rescue requesting assistance with a vehicle that left the road and was submerged in the Goat River, south of Creston.

With the use of swift water line equipment and a swift water craft, Search and Rescue personnel set out to search the vehicle to determine if anyone was trapped inside.

Shortly thereafter, Sheilah Sweatman went overboard into the river and did not surface. The BC Coroners Service will be investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident.