(Wikimedia Commons)

Polish climbers saved from B.C. avalanche after calling Poland for help

Pair was climbing in Mount Robson Provincial Park when they were hit

B.C. first responders got a surprising report all the way from Poland this week, after two climbers got caught in an avalanche.

The climbers were up on White Horn Mountain in Mount Robson Provincial Park, on the Alberta border close to Jasper, on Monday when the avalanche hit.

BC Emergency Health Services spokesperson Shannon Miller said they had a satellite phone and called the Polish emergency number to ask for help.

“When they called the Polish emergency services, they called the Polish embassy in Ottawa, who called Ottawa emergency service, who then called BC Emergency Health Services,” said Miller.

READ MORE: B.C. couple caught in Kootenay Pass avalanche

After B.C. finally received the call at about 11:20 a.m., an air ambulance from Kamloops and a plane from Prince George were dispatched to the scene, and the Robson Valley Search and Rescue crew was notified. A BCEHS ground crew was also dispatched to the information centre at Mount Robson.

Miller said she didn’t know if the pair simply had no idea what B.C.’s emergency number was or if they were in too much shock.

“They’d just been hit by an avalanche, after all,” said Miller. “Both were in serious condition when they were airlifted out to the nearest trauma centre in Kamloops.”

Miller said that while it was “highly unusual” for B.C. emergency dispatchers to get a call from Poland, it seems to have worked out okay for the climbers.

“It’s good that they had the satellite phone and it did work, so I’d say it was highly successful.”

The climbers were lucky that B.C. has a centralized emergency dispatch system, she said, unlike Alberta which has a myriad of different contractors handling emergency calls in different areas of the province.

“Without an understanding of the geography, it would be hard to know who to call.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Greenwood Trunk sewer line construction continues

Work on Ryan Road portion of project Monday

Police presence at Anna Place in Courtenay

Situation resolved peacefully

Summer seasonal farmers’ markets now open in the Comox Valley

Downtown Courtenay and Cumberland hosting outdoor markets

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Tens of thousands give heroes’ welcome to Croatia team

Euphoria gave way to a mixture of disappointment and pride for Croatia fans after their national team lost to France in its first ever World Cup final.

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Most Read