Local search teams rescued a young woman stuck on a cliff behind Waneta Plaza on Saturday.
“We arrived on scene shortly after the call came in,” explained SAR President Mike Hudson. “From the weather moving in and the darkness it was too difficult to navigate the terrain and she then called for help with her cell phone.”
In order to extricate the woman, rope rescue teams from Rossland and Castlegar SARs were called in to assist.
“Although she was not too far from the base of the mountain side, the area was too steep and not feasible for us to be able to rescue her,” Hudson clarified. “So we sent teams to the top of the mountain.”
Rugged terrain and darkness posed a challenge in finding a suitable anchor to set up a rope system.
“We then requested the military 442 squadron (SAR Techs) to assist us with a helicopter extraction, as they are the only option in the event of a night flight,” said Hudson.
In the end, the helicopter wasn’t required because after some time, the rescue team was able to find a suitable location for anchor.
“Our rope technicians used 550 meters of rope to build a safe system to access our subject,” Hudson explained. “She was approximately 150 meters down from the top of the mountain. We were fortunate to have cell phone contact with her and verbal communication throughout the evening as the operation took place.”
Once she reached safety, the team provided warm and dry clothing as well as safety equipment to continue the descent down to the bottom – the entire operation took almost 6 hours to complete.
“Although obviously nervous, cold, wet and hungry she was in very good spirits.” Hudson added. “She was brought to command without any injuries or concerns where she was checked out by BC Ambulance services as a precaution.”
He said the rope rescue was extremely complicated and very technical, and would not have been possible without the expertise gained through training and practice.
Hudson reminds the public to think about the weather when preparing for outdoor adventure.
“Proper footwear, clothing, jackets, and equipment related to your activity are important, and could save your life if you become stuck outdoors overnight,” he advises. “Pre-trip planning includes, checking local forecasts, and always let someone know where you are headed and when your coming home.”
Check out adventuresmart.ca for more information.