A member of the Myra Falls Rescue Team takes a break while away from the action during a rescue on Thursday, July 28. (Submitted photo)

A member of the Myra Falls Rescue Team takes a break while away from the action during a rescue on Thursday, July 28. (Submitted photo)

Rescue operations put into place on Vancouver Island over B.C. Day long weekend

Unseasonably warm weather a contributing factor for variety of incidents

Local search and rescue teams were called into action around the long weekend.

With many people getting out for the B.C. Day long weekend, rescue teams say they’ve been especially busy.

“There hasn’t been much time to think about much else,” said Tim Strange from the Campbell River Search and Rescue Society.

On Thursday, July 29, a tourist swimming in the Lower Myra Falls in Strathcona Provincial Park went over the edge of two waterfalls after being carried away by snowpack runoff in the area.

The injured swimmer was spotted by another swimmer who was able to pull him out of the water until more help arrived.

“There’s not a ton of signage in the area, so anyone who isn’t too familiar with it might get caught at a bad time,” said Rob Brown, captain of the Myra Falls Mine Rescue Team.

After the initial rescue, Brown himself rappelled down into the lower bank to secure the injured swimmer before they were eventually airlifted to a nearby ambulance, which took them to the Campbell River General Hospital.

With the rescue complete and the injured swimmer back at home, Brown said he and his team are focussed on getting better signage up to prevent future accidents.

While following park instructions is a good way to stay safe when enjoying the outdoors, accidents can still happen.

RELATED: Bikes to the rescue

On Friday, July 30, while climbing a particularly slippery and snowy portion of the Golden Hinde, an experienced climber fell into a gap between the snow and rock on the mountain.

After slipping approximately six metres and being unable to stop the fall with an ice axe, the climber sustained an upper-body injury which prevented them from being able to climb out.

The incident was reported at approximately 9:30 p.m. that night, which was too late for a helicopter to be deployed, according to Strange.

Because of the altitude, a land-based rescue team could not be deployed as it would have taken two days by foot to get to the injured climber.

With help from a hiking partner, the injured climber was able to shelter in place for the night before being airlifted off the mountain on Saturday morning.

The climber’s partner was able to communicate with rescuers using a satellite device.

According to Strange, if the climbers did not have the communication devices, it could have taken several days for a rescue operation to even begin taking place.

“It’s extremely important to have [satellite communication] devices when you’re climbing,” said Strange.

While the devices can be pricey, often costing around $400, climbing experts and rescue operators agree they are an essential item to pack as even the most skilled climbers can find themselves in difficult situations.

For more information on Campbell River Search and Rescue, visit www.crsar.ca.

RELATED: Hikers rescued off B.C.’s ‘Mystery Mountain’ after falling rock strikes one

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