Five Terrace residents were given letters of recognition for their rescue of a snowmobiler who was trapped underneath an avalanche last March (two nominees, Mitchell Peters and Brian Ward couldn’t make it). From left: Roger Fehr, Kelly Gingles, West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater and Regan Kardas. (Sonja Reschke contributed photo)

Five Terrace heroes recognized for avalanche rescue

The Royal Canadian Humane Association handed out bravery awards to 19 British Columbians Oct. 26

Five local snowmobilers who rescued a man buried underneath an avalanche were recognized for their acts of bravery last week.

Roger Fehr, Kelly Gingles, Regan Kardas, Mitchell Peters and Brian Ward were all given honorary testimonial certificates from the Royal Canadian Humane Association (RCHA) on Oct. 26.

The five Terracites were among the 19 British Columbians recognized by the association that day. They were joined by Terrace volunteer firefighter James Giles, who saved a family of three from a burning building in 2016, and Erik Brown, the Canadian cave diver involved in the Thailand rescue of a junior football team last July.

READ MORE: Humble hero awarded Canadian Medal of Bravery

“It was amazing, it was a huge honour. We’re just so grateful that our story had a happy ending,” Fehr says.

A lone snowmobiler had triggered an avalanche last March while climbing into an area known as “the chute” on South Douglas Mountain, just north of Terrace. Fehr, Gingles and Kardas were out exploring the backcountry when they came across Peters and Ward, who had stopped just below where the avalanche hit.

The pair had seen the snowmobiler travel up the mountain but noticed there were no tracks coming out of the slide of debris.

The location where the group of five located the buried snowmobiler along the “the chute” of South Douglas Mountain, north of Terrace. (Kelly Gingles contributed photo)

Luckily Gingles, Fehr and Kardas had completed a companion rescue course for snowmobilers. When they realized the individual’s emergency transceiver was turned off, they started randomly probing the deposit area with collapsible poles to see if they could locate him.

“Rallying that rescue as quickly as possible in the total chaos that is a rescue scenario is the most important thing. Your friends are literally your lifeline there… by the time you call outside help, it’s too late,” says Fehr.

READ MORE: Terrace, B.C., snowmobiler dug out from underneath avalanche

About ten seconds after they started searching, Fehr says he remembers Kardas calling out that he had hit something. After a few more probes, they found the man buried almost two metres down.

“The amount of time was amazing — he was literally standing directly above him,” Fehr says.

Together they dug him out, got him moving and helped him regain his breathing. Once he had recovered, they helped dig out his snowmobile, made a few quick repairs and made sure he could ride safely back down the mountain.

Though the nominees had saved over 20 lives between them, Fehr says humility was the overwhelming theme of the day.

“Everyone that was presented with some sort of recognition seemed very modest and humble about it. [It’s] amazing to be included in a cohort like that.”

Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin was scheduled to present the awards, but couldn’t make it after a family emergency. West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater was there to present the awards on her behalf.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thornhill’s future takes centre stage at June 2 public hearing

The current community plan was adopted in 1981

Class will look different at Coast Mountain College this September

The college is embracing a distributed learning model

City council considers easing food truck restriction

Food trucks limited to four hours public parking, may increase to six hours

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Most Read