Volunteers busy with rescues

Ian Jacques/Editor / Staff writer
November 27, 2012 01:00 AM

Volunteers from Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue (SAR) have been braving the elements the past two weeks on several call-outs up and down the Coast.

On Nov. 16, while volunteers from the Royal Canadian Marine - Search and Rescue, station 12 in Halfmoon Bay began searching the water in their rescue vessel near Merry Island Esplanade in Halfmoon Bay looking for a missing swimmer, SAR volunteers played a major role with 30 members conducting a ground search.

"The first group were on the scene from midnight until nearly 6 a.m., and the second group, including some members of the first group, were back at it again at 10 a.m.," said SAR publicity director Robert Allen. "Through the skills of some of our members specifically trained in tracking, SAR were able to determine that the subject had gone into the water and had come back out and gone up to and beyond the roadway, but a short distance beyond that, due to the hard surface, the tracks ran out. Other searchers were dispatched up and down the beach to search every nook and cranny where someone may have been hiding or injured and most of this was done throughout the dark stormy night."

Allen said one of the consequences of this search was that a major practice scheduled for the same day (Nov. 17) had to be cancelled and the logistics for the cancellation were not simple.

On Nov. 23, SAR was called out again to the area of Henry and Reed roads in the Elphinstone area to assist the RCMP in locating a lost hiker.

Allen said he was quickly and successfully located near the BC Hydro transmission lines and brought out for observations.

So far, in 2012, SAR has had 19 callouts and have rescued 11 people who were lost, injured or stranded in the backcountry on the Coast. Other callouts involved evidence searches for the RCMP, assisting paramedics in packaging and carrying subjects to awaiting ambulances, and mutual aid off the Coast assisting other search and rescue organizations.

"Sunshine Coast (ground) Search and Rescue members are all volunteers and hold practices every week and it is a committed community service organization built by success with the right people, with the right training and equipment, at the right time," said Allen.

Anyone wishing more information regarding Sunshine Coast (Ground) Search and Rescue can check out www.sunshinecoastsar.ca.

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