Elderly snowmobiler found safe after 2 cold nights in woods near Isle aux Morts

Searchers have found a man in his 80s who was overdue on an icefishing trip in southwest Newfoundland.

Stephenville Search and Rescue confirm

The search and rescue team that picked up a man in his 80s, who went missing on a trip from his cabin. (Stephenville SAR)

Searchers have found a man in his 80s who was overdue on a snowmobile trip in southwest Newfoundland.

The RCMP said the man from Isle aux Morts was reported missing at 7 p.m. Sunday, when he didn't return to his cabin.

According to Stephenville Search and Rescue, the man ran into trouble when he went looking for his friends, who were ice fishing.

More than 48 hours

While enroute, a storm hit and he became disoriented and snowblind, eventually driving into a ravine and striking a rock, disabling his snowmobile. 

In that ravine, next to his snowmobile, he would spend all Saturday night, Sunday and all day Monday waiting to be rescued.

This photograph shows the terrain in the area of the southwest coast where the man drove into a ravine and got stuck. (Stephenville SAR)

To make matters worse, he had also forgotten his backpack at the cabin he left earlier, and only had his snowmobile clothes with him.

RCMP confirmed he was found in good health, but was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.

Tough as nails

Despite all that time in the cold, rescuers said he was jovial and doing pretty well when they found him.

Shortly after rescuers arrived, a helicopter landed nearby to airlift him to Corner Brook. It's not yet clear what condition he is in, but he was alert and didn't appear seriously injured to the rescuers. He did have some noticeable frost bite and snowblindness, according to the Stephenville ground team.

The rescue involved many people, including dozens of friends and other snowmobilers, Stephenville-Kippens-Port au Port SAR, Barachois SAR, Port aux Basques RCMP, Universal Helicopters from Pasadena and 103 Gander Squadron.

He was the ninth snowmobiler to be reported missing in the province in recent days.

Seven were rescued on Northern Peninsula after being caught in a blizzard on Saturday, and a 20-year old from Labrador West also spent a cold night in the woods over the weekend before being located in a warming hut.

About the Author

Geoff Bartlett

CBC News

Geoff Bartlett is a journalist with CBC News in St. John's.