Trio taken to Upper Pitt by helicopter later rescued by Coquitlam, Ridge Meadows SAR

Coquitlam Search and Rescue members were called out to rescue three people stranded in the Upper Pitt River valley after a shift in weather Wednesday afternoon.

The trio had been dropped off by a helicopter in an area about 12 km up from the head of Pitt Lake, said Coquitlam SAR spokesperson Michael Coyle, and when the weather changed the helicopter was unable to return. Rescuers were called at about 6:30 p.m.

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"Our guys responded with swift water equipment and enlisted Ridge Meadows SAR…because their boat can fit a quad or ATV, it's a bit of a landing craft," Coyle said.

The trio, two men in their 30s and a woman in her 20s, were located and brought out at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday morning.

Coyle didn't know specifically why the group was in that area but said there are hot springs in the area and more and more people are trying to reach them, perhaps because of a reality TV show called Curse of the Frozen Gold, which airs on History Television Canada.

The show details the search for gold at the northern end of Pitt Lake, which is a difficult portion of Coquitlam SAR's response area to reach, according to a statement on their site.

"The inaccessibility of the area raises the level of concern members of the team have for potential gold seekers venturing into the area," it says.

Coyle noted after watching an episode it may seem as though rescues in the area are fairly easy but, in fact, they are complicated by the remote location, communications challenges and the time it takes to get crews and equipment to the area.

He also reminded those using boats, 4x4s or other means of transportation to reach the backcountry that it's just as important to be prepared with the 10 essentials, noting, "If it breaks down, you still have to survive."

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