Saturday was busiest day ever for Chilliwack Search and Rescue

"There were four separate incidents," said Chilliwack SAR search manager Doug Fraser.

It was one emergency after the other for Chilliwack Search and Rescue on Saturday — their busiest day in the team’s history.

“There were four separate incidents,” said Chilliwack SAR search manager Doug Fraser. “Those were the only calls we had all weekend, but it was non-stop.”

Two incidents saw recreational vehicles driven over embankments on Aug. 3, as well as swimmers who got stranded and a lost hiker.

Chilliwack SAR is the second busiest SAR team in the province, but Search Manager Dan McAuliffe, who has dedicated more than 30 years volunteering with SAR said: “Four calls in one day is unprecedented.”

The first call was mid-afternoon Saturday on the long weekend, when an ATV rider fell 300 feet down an embankment on Liumchen Bench Road near Cultus Lake.

A Bell 407 helicopter from Valley Helicopters was on-scene to allow SAR crews to put together a HETS long-line rescue, and the rider was flown directly to Royal Columbian Hospital by air ambulance.

While they were still on the first call, Chilliwack SAR was called to assist Hope SAR for another chopper based rescue at the Nickelmine Road recreation area north of Hope.

This time it was a dirt bike driven over a steep embankment and had fallen more than 200 feet.

HETS rescue technician Josef Seywerd was shocked by the rider’s relatively unscathed condition as he was being brought back up from the scene.

“Aside from a few scrapes he appeared to be uninjured,” said Seywerd.

While out on the second rescue, Hope SAR contacted Chilliwack SAR by radio to alert them of another emergency.

This time it was on the Coquihalla River at the popular Othello Tunnels area. Two young adults had been swimming in the river when they were overwhelmed by the current and swept downstream through the canyon to a section of the river between the first and second tunnel.

“All the rivers around here are at low water right now, but this particular spot above the Othello tunnels on the Coquihalla, as soon as you get past that last pool, you’re looking at water that’s extremely treacherous.”

Even expert kayakers avoid it because it’s full of drops, holes and debris.

“It’s not a place you want to be,” said Fraser.

The two swimmers made it to shore, but were stranded on the far side of the river.

Again SAR teams used long-line helicopter techniques, to assist the injured female using an aerial rescue platform (ARP).

“The uninjured male was also evacuated by long-line,” he said.

That training not only allows SAR to quickly access people in trouble, but it also saves them time and keeps the rescuers safe in the process.

The fourth and final call for help came just minutes after rescuing the two swimmers.

Hope SAR and Chilliwack SAR were called to search for a missing 16-year-old boy who was hiking a few kilometres south of Silver Lake on Skagit Valley Road.

“The terrain was steep and rugged and it initially appeared as if the search might be a long one.”

Rescuers met up with him on the trail, unharmed, just after 10 p.m.

*this version has been modified from the original to correct some details.

Just Posted

Sunshine Valley songbird releases EP

Fifteen-year-old Ashley Pater has been singing and performing since age 9

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for Agassiz-based SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

Hope stylist holds hair-athon for a good cause

Shayla Ross donating all proceeds of $10 cuts to the food bank

Hope arena turns green for hockey tourney

A second attempt at green ice, with proper ice paint, after food colouring experiment last year

Project Hope celebrates first birthday

Also: lego-mania comes to town, lineup of all-female comedians entertains Friday

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

UPDATED: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

Most Read