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Two rescues in two nights keep Coquitlam SAR volunteers busy

A hiker that fell 100 feet down a cliff north of the Tri-Cities needed to be hoisted by a special squadron from Vancouver Island.
Coquitlam Search and Rescue called in the Canadian Forces 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from Comox to hoist an injuried hiker that fell 100 feet off a cliff in Say Nuth Khaw Yum Provincial Park. | Nick Zupan

Local volunteers are reminding outdoor recreation enthusiasts to be prepared when planning a hiking trip or even a swim in the river.

Two people were successfully brought to safety in the last two days by Coquitlam Search and Rescue (SAR) crews and other special teams.

This included a hiker that was "badly-injured" as they reportedly fell 100 feet down a cliff near Barton Point in Say Nuth Khaw Yum Provincial Park — also known as Indian Arm Park.

The Anmore site is located more than 10 km north of downtown Coquitlam.

Crews responded around 8:10 p.m. on Monday (Aug. 22) and were able to access the area through roads and trails on Eagle Ridge by foot and utility terrain vehicle (UTV).

Prior to arriving, SAR made contact with a friend of the hiker, who said they were "in and out of consciousness" after the fall.

However, due to the injuries sustained, a helicopter was deployed from the Canadian Forces 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Comox to transport them to BC Ambulance waiting at Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

"The Cormorant CH-149 is too big to land directly at a hospital," Coquitlam SAR explained in a social media post, noting the helicopter was more equipped to complete the evening operation. 

"A combination of weight, size and the powerful downdraft means the policy is to meet an ambulance at the airport."

The helicopter landed at YVR shortly after midnight.

Less than 24 hours later, SAR crews were summoned by Coquitlam RCMP to help find a missing swimmer.

The person was ultimately found by members of the organization's marine rescue team, who were in the middle of a regular training session on the Pitt River when they received the call Tuesday night (Aug. 23).

The swimmer was then taken into the care of BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS).

An RCMP E-Bike team also responded to the missing person's report. 

As a result of the two incidents, Coquitlam SAR is encouraging hikers thinking of venturing out in provincial parks and local mountains to consider wearing appropriate gear.

This could include microspikes on shoes for better grip on icier trails and near cliffs, as well as winter coats, toques and gloves.

As well, volunteers urge to use caution around fast-moving water.

For more information on outdoor recreation trip planning, you're encouraged to visit Coquitlam SAR's website.