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Rescue training keeps going

Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue members train in the chilly water of the Puntledge River. -
Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue members train in the chilly water of the Puntledge River.
— image credit:

After ice rescue training two Sundays ago, Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue (CVGSAR) volunteers spent four chilly hours Sunday in the waters of the Puntledge River.

They were honing river rescue skills and practising paddling skills in a variety of watercraft, including inflatable craft and kayaks.

“We have seen a significant rise in the number of swift water rescue calls over the past three years,” states Paul Berry, CVGSAR search manager and swift water rescue team member. “As a team, we are continually refining our strategies and working closely together to build confidence in each other’s abilities.

“Readiness is essential. Powerful and relentless, swift water is our most dangerous and unforgiving rescue environment. Teamwork and trust in one another’s abilities are essential.”

While all members constantly train and recertify their swift water swimming skills, boat handling is a must, as swimming is a last resort in most rescue situations.

“Specialized water craft help ensure rescuer safety and facilitate a great many rescue options for our team,” Berry says.

CVGSAR thanks the generous support of Comox Valley Kayaks for the loan of kayaks for this past weekend’s training.

• • •

After an almost record-breaking search season in 2010, 12 CVGSAR members travelled to Duncan in the early hours of Friday morning to assist the RCMP and Cowichan SAR in the search for 18-year-old Tyeshia Jones, who had been missing since early Jan. 23.

Ground search team members, rope team members, two canine members and their handler as well as a search manager joined forces with 50 other searchers from the South Island.

“These searches are always difficult emotionally on our team members,” stated Berry. “Despite the sad outcome of this search, our team is pleased that we could be of assistance to Tyeshia and her family.

“Recovering Tyeshia allows the family and community to begin to heal and provides the RCMP important evidence to aid in the criminal investigation now underway.”

— Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue

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