It was a busy week for Bulkley Valley Search and Rescue BVSAR last week rescuing two backcountry adventurers over the course of four days.
On Sept. 28 the volunteer group received an SOS, (an international distress code in Morse code) via Zoleo from a hiker who got lost in a canyon west of Hazelton.
Zoleo is a global messaging system that works with and outside of cellular coverage anywhere on earth. The technology is often used by off-grid adventurers.
Fifteen volunteer searchers responded, along with helicopter support from Silver King Helicopters in Smithers, flying them to the search area west of Hazelton.
The search party ended up hiking through the night, in grueling terrain, pulling a 26-hour shift to locate the individual. Search and Rescue from Prince George helped with a helicopter that could “long-line” lift the individual out.
Typically a “long line” is used when there is nowhere to land the helicopter for the rescue.
“A huge shout out for Silver King Helicopters Inc., for their support in accommodating our needs amidst their already busy schedule. Not only via their flights, but their office space and logistical support was greatly appreciated,” said a spokesperson for BV SAR.
BV SAR also responded to another call over the weekend (Oct.1), on Hudson Bay Mountain where a hiker found themselves in a situation where they could not continue up the mountain, nor could they go back down.
This time the hiker called 911, and with helicopter support once again, BV SAR was able to bring the hiker down the mountain successfully.
“We also had the help of BV Amateur Radio Society on that call,” said Michael Williams, BV SAR Manager.
“Our team has long appreciated the support of BVARS, and the air search and rescue association (PEP Air); so much so that our new SAR hall is going to be incorporating their office spaces as well. This will help when we work together on call-outs,” Williams said.
“One area of need the long line rescue highlighted, was communication in remote terrain.”
“If there are companies or individuals who wish to support our goal to raise $1,500 to purchase a Starlink internet system and durable travel case, that would be an absolute game changer for us. This would give us an incredible communication bridge between our field teams and the resources they need to help bring our subjects home.
“So far, Aquabatics Smithers has amazingly donated $800 towards our goal, and from now till the end of October will continue to donate $70 for each Zoleo they sell, which is incredible,” said Anastasia Ledwon, fundraising chair for BV SAR.
Later in October, the BV SAR group will be holding a fundraiser to help them finish their new operations centre at the Smithers Airport.
If you would like to donate, you can send e-transfers to: email@example.com.