Fernie Search and Rescue (SAR) was called out on Wednesday Oct. 12 at 10 a.m. to look for three hunters who had gone missing the night before. A 25-year-old girl, a 21-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy had gone out hunting the day before in the Lodgepole area up on the Flathead. They were due back that same evening so when they didn’t return, friends and family went looking for them but were unable to locate them.
“We were called by the RCMP to see if we could go find them the next morning,” said Simon Piney, Fernie SAR Search Manager. “Based on the information that we had, which wasn’t actually that helpful other than they had gone to that general area and the type of truck that they had was relatively easy to identify, we headed up in a helicopter to fly the route which we flew a number of times.
“We also used the new logging channels to put it out there to see if any loggers had seen them the day before and we actually got quite a few people who got back to us saying that they had seen them at some point along the road throughout the day which was really quite helpful,” he said. “We were able to narrow their location down. We also had a spotter plane heading out that morning to fly up there which is a more cost effective way of searching and just as we were about to switch from helicopter to spotter plane, the helicopter spotted them.”
The night before, their vehicle had gone off the road, unable to keep going they spent the night in their truck. They then tried to walk out and made it 20 or 30 kilometres according to Piney.
SAR located them mid afternoon on Wednesday.
“They were cold and a bit banged up from their night out and their car accident so we flew them back to Fernie and dropped them with the ambulance,” said Piney. “I don’t think there was anything too seriously wrong with them. We are just happy that they are okay.”
Fernie SAR would like to remind people to always be prepared to spend the night outdoors because it does happen even when you’ve got a vehicle. The vehicle can break down or go off the road then you are stuck for the night. They would also like to remind people to let others know where you are, it makes it quicker to find people if SAR knows where to start looking.