Good planning = good outcome for snowmobilers

Rescuers are commending a group of snowmobilers after a rescue on April 7 near Prince George.

Rescuers are commending a group of snowmobilers after a rescue on April 7 near Prince George.

Five snowmobilers were on the Seeback Forest Service Road near the McGregor River when one young woman was thrown from her snowmobile, which then hit her.

The snowmobiler in her twenties had suspected back injuries and could not be moved safely.

But Prince George Search and Rescue is crediting good trip planning with the woman’s rescue.

The group had taken three precautions which Dale Bull of Prince George Search and Rescue said ensured the group was as safe as possible.

They carried the backcountry avalanche gear needed for avalanche terrain, they carried survival equipment in backpacks with them and they left a trip plan with friends.

When the group did not return on time, two friends set out with first aid equipment to find the group.

At the same time, one of the group had made their way out to cell service and called for help.

Nine search and rescue members went out to find the group, and two personnel stayed back to provide logistical support.

The rescuers got the call at around 7 p.m. and made contact with the group at 3:30 a.m., bringing the snowmobilers warm blankets, food and water.

The group was well-equipped enough to already have a fire going to keep them warm.

At first light, a helicopter came in with paramedics to evacuate the injured snowmobiler for treatment.

While her injuries were not considered life-threatening, and are not expected to be debilitating, she has been sent to Vancouver for further treatment and there is believed to be damage to her spine, according to rescuers.

The relatively happy ending in the incident is credited to the presence of a trip plan.

“Had that trip plan not been there, no one would have gone looking for them,” said Bull, adding this could have slowed the rescue down significantly.