It was a large team effort by search and rescue members from several northern communities to rescue an overdue ATVer northeast of Prince George who fell ill in a heavily forested area.
The man was rescued from the sky Sunday (May 23) via helicopter before receiving attention by BC Ambulance after a ground and aerial search from Search and Rescue teams from Prince George, Vanderhoof, Mackenzie and Quesnel with Fort St James en route.
Search efforts were launched shortly after midnight when Prince George Search and Rescue received a request for support by RCMP for the overdue man who had ATVed to the area to lay trail.
It was around 5 a.m. when Nechako Valley Search and Rescue (NVSAR) were called to continue the search throughout the day.
“Given the size of the search area that we were looking at with really no breaks in the terrain for roads, cutblocks or creeks that were significant to stop the passage of someone it was decided to bring in Mackenzie Search and Rescue and Quesnel Search and Rescue, and also request Fort St. James,” said NVSAR search manager Chris Mushumanski, noting the holiday long weekend.
“We also requested a helicopter to help search from the air, and the helicopter was able to spot the gentlemen. He had a fire going, so the smoke made it handy to see him.”
The man had some essentials with him such as fire starter along with his dog Peaches for company.
Once he was spotted by helicopter, the on-ground volunteers joined by an RCMP doghandler tried to get as close to him as possible.
“Given the nature of his illness, we decided to request CDFL (Class D Fixed Line),” Mushumanski said.
As a part of CDFL, a search and rescue member hung from the bottom of a helicopter which was lowered into the site. The member then picked up the ATVer and brought him over to a field where BC Ambulance was waiting to assess the subject, he added.
Mushumanski credits the outdoor preparedness of the rescue subject, as well the assistance of the helicopter that closely fanned the dense forest in the daylight, as some of the key factors that resulted in a successful search.
The man’s dog, Peaches, was brought out of the forest by search and rescue members who was happy to see his next door neighbours at the search base after ‘quite the overnight adventure.’
Mushumanski encourages the public to check out the free online resource before they head outdoors and said there is no cost for search and rescue services should anyone find themselves in need of help.