Stranded snowmobilers kept the Shuswap Search and Rescue team busy on Sunday, Jan. 24 and into the early hours of the following morning.
According to search manager John Schut, 13 search and rescue volunteers went out looking for a lost snowmobiler about noon on Jan. 24. Schut said a friend of the sledder called in to say the missing man had not returned and had probably been out in the woods near Lee Creek all night.
The search began and before long the man was located walking out down a logging road. Schut said the man’s sled got stuck the previous day so he built a shelter out of tree limbs to spend the night. He was given some much needed food and a hot drink before being brought out of the bush to safety.
As the search and rescue team was returning to their hall about 6 p.m. they received another call. A sledder on Queest Mountain near Sicamous was stranded after his sled suffered a mechanical failure. As the team members headed for the east end of Shuswap Lake, yet another call came in asking for assistance locating a missing person in Salmon Arm. However, they were told to stand down before having to divide the team.
The man on Queest Mountain had found some cell service to let someone know his sled was broken, so Schut said they worked off a cellphone ping to locate his machine. Using snowshoes, the searchers followed the man’s tracks away from the immobilized snowmobile. The man’s attempt to walk out was slowed down by deep snow but the search and rescue volunteers provided him with a set of snowshoes and got him back to their waiting snowmobiles and off the mountain.
The second rescue was complete by about 4:30 a.m. Jan. 25, making it an extremely long day for the search and rescue volunteers.