British Columbia

Help! North Shore Rescue facing unprecedented surge in call-outs

Accidents, medical emergencies, and poorly-equipped hikers all needed the services of North Shore Rescue operations this past weekend.

14 rescues in 14 days taking its toll on volunteer rescuers

NSR volunteers perform a longline rescue of a distressed hiker (North Shore Rescue)

North Shore Rescue says it handled an unprecedented surge in call-outs over the last two weeks, including three more rescues over the weekend. 

"In the last 14 days, we've had 14 calls," says NSR Team Leader Mike Danks. "Typically summer is our busiest time but what we're seeing is a bit of an anomaly"

Saturday 'Double Feature'

On Saturday, NSR performed two rescues in what its own website called a "Saturday Double Feature".  First, ground and air teams were sent to rescue an injured female near the summit of Hollyburn Mountain.

Just as that operation ended their flight crew was called to the Sunshine Coast to help crews with a hypothermic patient who had broken a leg after falling down a waterfall.  

On Sunday NSR teams plucked a distressed hiker off Crown Mountain at twilight, making for the third helicopter longline rescue of the weekend. 

Last week a crew was also dispatched to the Sunshine Coast after a paraglider got caught in a tree. They were halfway there when the call was cancelled. As well, NSR teams were dispatched to aid in a rescue on Vancouver Island. 

Taxing, but gratifying

Danks says the increase in call-outs, especially the back-to-back calls, have been taxing for North Shore Rescue members, all of whom are volunteers. But he also says it's been gratifying.  

"It's been incredibly busy. But we've had positive results with all the calls so we're grateful in that sense." 

The North Shore Rescue website has an extensive education page with tips and information to help hikers and back country enthusiasts stay safe and be prepared in the event something goes wrong.

As well, NSR is in the process of outfitting all their volunteer with helmet cameras. Increasingly rescue footage is being recorded and uploaded to their website.

Danks says the footage is invaluable from an education perspective.

"Number one it's great for us to review and critique ourselves. But it also really gets our message out there to show people what we do in the back country.

North Shore Rescue will be celebrating its 50th anniversary September 13th with an open house at their rescue base. Details will be released soon.

Salmon rescue

North Shore Rescue is also working on a different kind of rescue campaign, teaming up with the Seymour Salmonid Society to help spawning salmon get around a rock slide that has blocked the river.

NSR will set up a high-line rope system which will move large bags of live, trapped salmon from the river to a truck. The fish will then be driven around the rockslide and either released back into the river, or at the Seymour Hatchery. 

​Danks says besides helping the fish, setting up the high-line system will be a valuable training opportunity for North Shore Rescue volunteers.


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