An injured snowmobiler had to be rescued from Kakwa Lake last night. STARS Air Ambulance wasn’t able to reach them due to the weather, and although the call came from B.C., search manager Doug Christian says it was Grande Prairie Technical Search and Rescue that responded for a ground evacuation.
“They did a consultation with McBride Search and Rescue, who said that they would be 8 to 9 hours to get to that patient, so they said if we could be there faster, then absolutely go and get the patient.”
He adds that Department of National Defence SAR techs from the Air Force base in Comox would have taken just as long to get there. The call came in around 4:30 p.m. Friday, and once it was determined they would make the trip, the five person Grande Prairie crew reached the staging area at Lick Creek on the Alberta side of the border in five and a half hours.
“[We] proceeded in to the south Kakwa Lake cabin by snowmobile,” says Christian. “They did have a gentleman who had sustained some injuries in a snowmobile accident earlier in the afternoon. He needed to be moved under medical supervision; he wasn’t able to sit up on a sled to be just driven out.”
The man was a Grande Prairie area resident in his twenties and he was taken to the QEII Hospital in stable condition. Christian is taking this opportunity to remind anyone heading into the outdoors to take the proper precautions.
“To anyone going in to the back country, make sure someone knows who you are, provide a trip plan to a responsible adult: when you’re going out, what you’re going to be doing, when you’re coming back, and while you’re out there, make sure you have the appropriate communication equipment; if you’re going out in to the far wilderness, invest in a satellite phone. It can save your life.”
GP TSAR covers an area of roughly 80,000 square kilometres, one of the largest response areas of any Search and Rescue group in Alberta.