Local air SAR aids Golden operation

Missing wildlife photographer located safely near Kinbasket Lake after vehicle gets stuck in backcountry snow.

  • Mar. 22, 2016 3:00 p.m.

The Cranbrook Air Search and Rescue is actively involved in assisting with ground SAR operations and undertakes constant training with local volunteers.

A Golden-based wildlife photographer whose vehicle got stuck out in the backcountry was found safe over the weekend thanks to some help from Cranbrook Air Search and Rescue.

The photographer, who was reported missing by family to authorities late on Saturday, was found by a stroke of luck after being spotted near a remote area of Kinbasket Lake by a civilian helicopter pilot who was ferrying passengers from Donald to a backcountry lodge.

The Cranbrook Air SAR was called in on Sunday morning and flew up to Golden in a four-seat Cessna 182 to assist with the search in conjunction with Golden and District SAR, as RCMP patrols were unable to locate the man the night before.

With few clues as to his specific last known whereabouts, the Air SAR crew searched the Blaeberry Valley and Gorman Lake upon recommendation from the man’s wife.

The man was eventually spotted walking along a snow-covered backroad by a civilian helicopter and RCMP, along with Air SAR and Golden and District SAR were able to meet him on the ground and get him back home.

The man’s vehicle—a silver Jeep—had gotten stuck on Saturday and after spending the night, the man decided to try and hike out on Sunday. However, he returned to it after deciding it was more likely he’d be found if he stayed with the vehicle.

“Common sense prevailed when he walked away from his vehicle to walk out, then returned to it, knowing it was the wise thing to do and be his best chances at being found,” said Cpl. Dan Moskaluk. “If you’re ever stranded but safe, never leave your vehicle when lost or stuck in a remote area. Searchers will have a much easier time in spotting your vehicle the spotting you walking around.”

Allister Pedersen, a training officer with the Cranbrook Air SAR, gave credit to the B.C. government’s Provincial Emergency Program Air for providing the latest in SAR technology that allowed them to safely and efficiently search a remote area.

“A PEP Air iPad allowed me to download, on the fly, detailed maps of the search area and a SPOT emergency beacon allowed our ground support crew in Cranbrook to monitor our flight with GPS flight following position reports ever 10 minutes,” said Pedersen.

The Cranbrook Air SAR gets called out roughly once a month to help with searches from the air, the latest being a call for service a few weeks ago up the Wildhorse River alongside Cranbrook and Kimberley Ground SAR, eventually locating a vehicle and two occupants.


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