Search and rescue crews respond to two calls on Friday

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As Salt Spring Island Search and Rescue (SSISAR) wrapped up two successful operations Friday, search manager and president Conrad Bowden said it’s been a busier start to the year than usual. 

The operations Friday involved getting a man from his home on Prevost Island to hospital in Victoria, then locating two hikers on Mount Erskine. The taskings are the second and third for the year, following a Jan. 3 rescue of a hiker off an icy and slippery Mount Erskine trail using a basket stretcher and a wheel. 

The first call for Jan. 14 came in at 4:45 p.m. A man had fallen from the roof of his house on Prevost Island, which is a water-access-only island. Working with BC Ambulance and the Canadian Coast Guard, three SSISAR members were transported to the island on the Cape Naden motor lifeboat. 

The man, a senior who had fallen between six to eight feet and had been lying on the ground for some time awaiting rescue, was brought by stretcher down to the Naden. All of the rescuers then accompanied the man to Swartz Bay for further medical treatment. He was stable and his spirits were high, Bowden reported. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Naden could only carry their own crew plus three SSISAR members, so the rest of the team headed back to the hall. As they were getting ready to go home, yet still geared up, they were told by RCMP that two female hikers needed to be rescued from a trail on Mount Erskine.

The two hikers had their cell phones on them and were texting with rescuers.

“They actually were using a mapping program to map their own hike,” Bowden said. “So they were able to send screenshots of that.” 

Using SSISAR’s own mapping software, searchers connected their team with the two hikers. 

They were brought out a little over an hour from when they first got the call at 6:15 p.m. 

“It’s great with all the technology and so forth that it makes it so straightforward,” Bowden said.  

He said it’s good for people to take into account that it can get dark sooner if they are on the wrong side of the mountain or if the weather is cloudy or foggy.

“Visibility can get very difficult much earlier than you might think,” he said.

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