British Columbia

Snowmobilers rescued from dangerous avalanche terrain

A group of snowmobilers spent Saturday night awaiting rescue in the Finn Creek area near Clearwater, B.C.

'They spent a very cold night out in a very dangerous, scary place'

Vernon's B.C. Air Rescue helicopter lowering a rescue volunteer down with a winch (Mike Ritcey with Kamloops Search and Rescue/Facebook.com)

A man remains in hospital after suffering serious injuries in a snowmobile accident this weekend near Clearwater, B.C.

It happened Saturday in an area known as Finn Creek.

Four snowmobilers, at least two of whom are from Alberta, were out for the day and ended up in an area that was closed to snowmobiling.

"I think they probably didn't know the area well and got into trouble," said Kamloops Search and Rescue (KSAR) manager Alan Hobler.

KSAR received a report that one of the men had gone off a five-metre cliff and broke his leg.

A group of eight rescue volunteers left Kamloops at two in the morning on Sunday to be there at first light.

Search and rescue volunteers from Kamloops and Well Gray worked together to effect the rescue. (Mike Ritcey with Kamloops Search and Rescue/Facebook.com)

KSAR and members of Wells Gray Search and Rescue found the men in avalanche terrain in a difficult-to-access area.

"They spent a very cold night out in a very dangerous, scary place; so physically and emotionally, they were completely done," Hobler said.

The men weren't well prepared to be out overnight. The injured man was wearing only light clothing for snowmobiling.

"So when they were located," Hobler said, "they were very cold. They were borderline hypothermic and definitely needed to be re-warmed and taken care of."

In the end, Vernon's B.C. Air Rescue society had to use a helicopter to winch the injured man out of the area.

He remains at Royal Inland Hospital where he is expected to make a full recovery.

Hobler says he sees a lot of snowmobilers from Alberta getting into trouble.

"I think maybe people coming from the prairies don't fully appreciate that the mountains are a very dangerous place to be and it's really easy to get into trouble in the mountains."

Avalanche Canada has issued a special information bulletin, warning of an increased avalanche risk for areas in the Rockies, Columbias and northwest B.C. (avalanche.ca)

Currently, Avalanche Canada has issued a warning for a swath of the Rockies, Columbias and northwest B.C., where it's reported a potential for increased avalanche risk.  

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