Everyone is safe with no injuries reported after Coquitlam Search and Rescue (SAR) responded to three missing persons reports from RCMP Wednesday night (April 12).
Three hikers, plus one dog, were brought to safety after getting lost near Buntzen Lake in a span of just under 12 hours, including two hikers that took volunteers 4.5 hours to bring to safety as a result of snowy conditions.
The other was a boater along the Pitt River in Port Coquitlam, but RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Alexa Hodgins said they were ultimately able to rescue themselves.
"It's certainly unusual and concerning to have this many search and rescue reports in such a short period of time," she said.
"We are thankful for the quick response by Coquitlam SAR to each of these reports as their efforts ultimately resulted in the safe return of everyone involved."
After 2:30 p.m. yesterday, Mounties received a call of a lost, "disorientated" hiker near Buntzen Lake on the Lung Buster trail.
SAR volunteers were summoned, found the person on Eagle Mountain and brought them to safety four hours later.
The lost boater report was phoned in to police shortly after 4:15 p.m.
They were in the Upper Pitt River area, and eventually rescued themselves after Coquitlam SAR crews were notified, Hodgins explained.
Then, around 6:45 p.m., a report of two lost hikers and their dog was called in to RCMP — also near Buntzen Lake.
Hodgins explained the trio was stuck on the ridge above the east side of the Dilly Daly trail in Say Nuth Khaw Yum Park.
Fortunately, they were easy to find as roughly 14 SAR volunteers and helicopter operators were still in the area after the first report.
However, it took 4.5 hours to bring the hikers and the "very tired" pooch to safety due to terrain and snow conditions, getting off the trail by 2 a.m. early this morning (April 13).
Bring the essentials
"At this time of year, it is still winter with snow on the ground on the high trails," said Stu Fleming, Coquitlam SAR search manager, in the same statement.
"If you encounter snow or something changes during your trip plan, we encourage outdoor enthusiasts to re-assess their plans."
The busy evening for both SAR and RCMP members is acting as a reminder to always prepare for the wilderness, in case of an emergency, as foot and bike trail conditions at more than 1,000 feet may still be snowy or wet.
Coquitlam SAR lists the following 10 items to keep packed when venturing into the back-country:
- With spare batteries
- Extra food and water
- Extra clothing
- Rain, wind and water protection
- Navigational aids
- Maps, compass, altimeter, GPS, chart, radio and mobile phone
- Fire starter
- First Aid kit
- Emergency shelter
- Sun protection
- Pocket knife
- Signalling device
For more information on trip planning, you're encouraged to visit Coquitlam SAR's website.