Fernie Search and Rescue is a group comprised of volunteers who assist people in emergencies in the backcountry. The group has around 35 members who are trained to respond in a number of technical rescue disciplines including: Avalanche Rescue; High-Angle Rope Rescue; Swiftwater Rescue; Ice Rescue; Helicopter Rescue; Helicopter Long-Line Rescue; Ground Search; Wilderness First Aid and CARDA dog handlers.
The group responds to emergencies as needed 24/7 365 days a year. Here are some of their rescues from the past week.
Fernie SAR was called at 1330 on Wednesday to rescue a group of adults and children on the Elk River. They had become stranded on a sand bar in the middle of the river following some members of the group falling from their boats. Fernie SAR longline technicians evacuated the group to safety with the assistance of Bighorn Helicopters.
At around 2000 on Tuesday July 10 Fernie SAR was called to respond to an injured mountain biker of the Swine Flu trail. The young man from Calgary, biking with his brother and a Fernie man, fell off his bike on the downhill, striking a tree with his back and sustaining a serious spinal injury. Fernie SAR responded with BCAS and Fernie Fire / Rescue to stabilise and extricate the subject who was then transported to the Elk Valley Hospital. In view of the serious nature of the injury, STARS was activated, but had to delay due to poor weather conditions. He was eventually transported via STARS to Foothills later that night.
Earlier afternoon on Sunday, Fernie SAR was tasked by BC Ambulance to respond to an injured hiker who had slipped and fallen approximately 30 meters down from the summit of Polar Peak, at Fernie Alpine Resort. Initially anticipating the need for long line helicopter rescue (CDFL), gear was loaded and two CDFL SAR techs were enroute to the helicopter base. At this point it was learned that the subject had been reached by a fellow hiker who had rappelled down, secured the subject, and despite significant abrasions and contusions, had brought her back up to Polar Peak summit. Fernie SAR arrived quickly, loaded the subject into the helicopter and transported her to a waiting BCAS unit at the base of the ski hill. It is very important to note that the rescue by the fellow hiker was not just a casual passerby, but a highly experienced and qualified ski and mountain guide who happened to be in the right spot at the right time. Fernie SAR, and I am sure the injured woman, are highly thankful to have so many talented and experienced Fernie residents who are able to help out in such a situation.
We appreciate the amazing work this dedicated group of volunteers performs, rescue after rescue. Lets help Fernie Search and Rescue by being more responsible as individuals and not subjecting ourselves, and these volunteer rescuers, to unnecessary risk. Be safe out there and appreciate how lucky we are to have this group to back us up. Thank you Fernie SARS!