British Columbia

Rescuers find 2 missing snowmobilers near Revelstoke, B.C.

Two men, both from Kelowna, rented snowmobiles from a local company Saturday to go sledding on Boulder Mountain but failed to return at the arranged time.

2 men from Kelowna, B.C., went missing Saturday on Boulder Mountain

RCMP officers in Revelstoke, B.C., closed Boulder Mountain on Sunday morning in support of an ongoing search for a pair of missing snowmobilers. (Revelstoke Search and Rescue/Facebook)

Police say two young men are lucky to have survived after they got lost snowmobiling and were forced to spend the night on a mountain near Revelstoke, B.C.

RCMP Cpl. Thomas Blakney said the men, both 24-year-old Kelowna, B.C., residents, were reported missing Saturday afternoon when they failed to return to their rented sleds after spending the day on Boulder Mountain in eastern B.C.

Rescue crews spent about five hours searching for the pair in the dark Saturday night, but had nothing to go on, other than the fact that they were on the mountain, Blakney said.

"It's a needle in a haystack," he said.

Officials closed public access to the area Sunday so rescuers could search using helicopter and sled teams.

Around 1 p.m., the men were found. They were cold, but in good health. Revelstoke Search and Rescue transported the snowmobilers off of the mountain.

Blakney said it appears that one of the two sleds ran out of fuel Saturday, and when the men tried to get out on the other machine, they got lost.

The pair created a make-shift snow fort where they stayed for the night before trying to walk out Sunday morning, he said.

The snowmobilers got lost again on Sunday, Blakney said, but rescuers saw their footprints and were able to track them down.

Boulder Mountain, four kilometres west of the town of Revelstoke, is a popular snowmobiling destination. (Chris Armstrong/file)

"They're safe and sound, so it's a good ending," he said, noting that the terrain and conditions in the area are unpredictable, and the situation could have been much worse.

The snowmobilers had an avalanche kit with the basics, but did not have the food or supplies required to spend a night on the mountain, Blakney said.

Police are reminding recreational sledders of the importance of appropriate equipment and training when going into the back country.

The temperature on the mountain was around -4 C Sunday morning and was below freezing overnight Saturday.