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Rescuers busy on mountains

COMOX VALLEY GROUND Search and Rescue members remove a snowboarder from Mount Washington. - PHOTO BY CTV VANCOUVER ISLAND
COMOX VALLEY GROUND Search and Rescue members remove a snowboarder from Mount Washington.
— image credit: PHOTO BY CTV VANCOUVER ISLAND

 

 

It was a busy weekend for search and rescue crews, as the stormy weather in the lower areas of the Valley resulted in blizzard-like conditions in higher elevations, leaving a handful of people stranded in the alpine.

A 28-year-old Comox Valley snowboarder was safely found early Saturday morning after spending the night on Mount Washington.

The man, who was wearing white pants, a white helmet and a white jacket, boarded off a trail around noon Friday on the northwest side of the mountain.

Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue Group began their search Friday, but were restricted because of darkness and a high avalanche hazard in the area.

"(We were) up against heavy, heavy snowfall, strong winds ... dark, difficult terrain. Pretty extreme avalanche conditions up here on the mountain, so that limited the areas that we could search," explained Paul Berry, manager of Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue.

"(It was his) first time on the mountain, he made a wrong turn and wasn't able to get himself reoriented and became overcome by darkness as well," he added.

About 40 searchers were involved overnight and a Cormorant helicopter from 442 Squadron at 19 Wing Comox was also dispatched to the area.

The boarder — who did not want to be identified — was transported by ambulance to St. Joseph's General Hospital as a precaution.

On Saturday, two snowshoers and a dog were airlifted after spending two nights at a cabin near Divers Lake about 10 kilometres southwest of Mount Washington.

They had ventured to the cabin with the intention of spending one night, but became stranded due to worsening conditions and had to be rescued via helicopter Monday morning.

"They did absolutely the right thing — they looked at the conditions and made the decision that it wasn't safe to travel and made the right call," said Berry. "Conditions were gusting up to 100 (km/h) with heavy, heavy snow, making it virtually impossible to be able to snowshoe out of there."

He added the pair was experienced, as they both had winter survival training through the military.

"They knew navigating and travelling through the conditions was not a safe thing to do," Berry noted.

Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue received another call for a skier Sunday morning who became lost within bounds on Mount Washington, but ski patrols from the resort found the individual and the call for rescue crews was cancelled.

 

— With files from CTV Vancouver Island

 

 

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