Two climbers were at a waterfall near Oliver Creek when one of them injured their leg on Feb. 18 and required helicopter rescue. (Screenshot)

SAR leads helicopter Family Day rescue to retrieve injured climber

Pilot had to hover over waterfall as rescue team lifted two people to safety

Terrace Search and Rescue retrieved an injured climber with the help of a helicopter on Family Day, Feb. 18.

Two experienced climbers were rappelling at a waterfall in the Oliver Creek area, northeast of Terrace, when one of the men slipped and injured his leg.

Using their inReach device, which is a tool that is used to send text via satellite, they initiated a 911 call with their coordinates to the RCMP who then contacted Terrace Search and Rescue (SAR) at approximately 4:12 p.m. Monday.

SAR got in touch with Summit Helicopter, who then flew their three-person rescue team on-board directly to the climbers at 5:20 p.m.

“We located the subjects on the side of the slope at the bottom of the waterfall and the team was able to make an assessment to make a hover exit,” says Dave Jephson, SAR vice-president.

The helicopter could not properly land as the terrain was unlevelled, but the pilot managed to hover on top of the waterfall partially on the rocks until the injured man and his friend were lifted to safety.

READ MORE: Terrace SAR, military coordinate joint late-night backcountry rescue

By 5:40 p.m., the helicopter had made its return to Terrace with the injured climber, his friend and the rescue crew.

The entire operation was done within an hour and 20 minutes.

“We were just very fortunate to get in there with enough daylight, that was the main worry that we had,” says Jephson. “They made the right decision to notify rescue.”

Jephson says the two climbers were well-prepared with the proper equipment, such as having camping gear, and a plan that helped the rescue team quickly locate them. The injured man was able to keep warm while they waited for SAR to arrive.

“What happens is that if they don’t prepare for themselves, and we can’t get to them, then they’re truly struck out there on their own… We’re really trying to hammer that and try to push that message [for everyone].”

READ MORE: Security guard now on patrol at three Terrace banks

With the recent amount of SAR calls in the backcountry region of Terrace, Jephson says that people need to think ahead when they’re doing outdoor activities.

“Our continued message is to pre-plan — make sure you can look after yourself for an ‘x’ amount of time, and take enough equipment to mitigate any problems whether it’s first-aid, medical or survival.”

He adds that it’s also important to notify someone in advance where you’re planning to be in case something happens because “that makes it worth more than anything, having that basic information.”

No other emergency calls were made to SAR over Family Day long weekend.


 


natalia@terracestandard.com

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