Princeton Ground Search and Rescue save people anywhere too rugged for an ambulance or truck to get to, often using quads or snowmobiles deep in the forest.
On a recent rescue expedition they saved an injured 80-year-old man who had fallen while cross-country skiing 60 kilometres up a snow-covered road.
An ambulance was called but couldn’t get to the man, so Ground Search and Rescue (GSR) quickly stepped in.
The team assembled a snowmobile, rescue toboggan, spine board and stretcher at the base.
“When we got there, he couldn’t move and was in a lot of pain when he tried to get up,” said GSR manager Randy Rorvik who was at the scene.
The elderly man ended up having a cracked pubic bone and pelvis.
The GSR team responds to about a dozen calls a year in off-road areas.
The group is often confused with Princeton Highway Extrication Society, also known as Highway Rescue.
This life-saving team quickly responds to accidents on roads and highways in the Princeton-area, not off-road incidents like the GSR does.
Princeton’s Ground Search and Rescue doesn’t only deal with trapped, injured people. They can also be tasked by the coroner to recover bodies in the forest or other remote locations.
“I believe in giving back to the community,” said Rorvick, who joined the GSR when he heard about it from a friend. He is looking for new volunteers to join.
Working with the team can be similar to the TV show Mantracker because the team has to constantly assess different signs for where to search, he said.
“We come up to a truck, and the person could have gone in any direction. We have to narrow down the search to know which way to begin looking.”
The team also has to assess the area for their own safety before starting out. They are extra careful of avalanches in the winter.
Princeton GSR will be featured in a TV show on the Knowledge Network this fall.
Rorvick doesn’t want to give away too much, but mentioned the show will be about an elderly woman who was supposed to ride a bus from Vancouver to Penticton, but got off in Princeton instead because she used to live in the area.
The GSR team quickly sprang to action while being filmed, searching anywhere it was difficult for vehicles to reach.