This weekend marked the start of the warmer weather, and that translated into a dramatic rise in search and rescue calls.
“It’s been an incredibly quiet three months,” Kent-Harrison SAR member Neil Brewer said Tuesday, “then the flood gates opened.”
They’ve been called out to at least six incidents in the past week, including the drowning of a Kenyan exchange student in Kawkawa Lake on Sunday.
They ended up standing down for that call, Brewer said, contrary to earlier media reports that a Kent Search and Rescue diver was on scene.
“Of course, we don’t even have a diver,” he said.
Locally, they responded to a call on Saturday night that a man was lost in the Chehalis fish hatchery area. The man was fine, but Brewer said that area is a common one for lost day hikers.
“It’s the Bermuda Triangle,” he said. “You get in there and it’s horrendous, just two square kilometres of bush and swamp.”
Also on Saturday night was a call to the Harrison East Forest Service Road to attend a dirt bike accident about 30 kilometres north. The ambulance was able reach the injured rider, though, so SAR was told to stand down en route.
They received an interesting call from RCMP last Thursday. A camper was seen floating down the Fraser River, two kilometres upstream from the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge. Police wanted to ensure there was no one in the camper, and SAR members were called out to the river to look into the boat.
“How it got into the Fraser River, we don’t know,” he said, but it did turn out to be empty.
On Sunday night, they rescued a man and two small boys in a boat on Harrison Lake. The boat had broken down and the trio was facing sleeping in the small, open boat. But the man luckily had a working radio and called for help.
“That would have been a cold night,” Brewer said.
And then on Monday, the Cormorant Rescue helicopter was out in Harrison responding to a call that a float plane was broken down at the north end of the lake.
It was also initially reported that the pilot had a dislocated shoulder.
The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria handled the call, and the helicopter was sent to pull the pilot off the beach.
Brewer said the pilot turned out to be okay after all, and SAR members secured the plane so it wouldn’t float away.
The May long weekend was a busy one, too.
A Langley woman had paraglided into a 100 foot Douglas fire near Bridal Falls. She was brought down by SAR workers and suffered no major injuries.