Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue was called out two more times last weekend. (Courtesy Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue)

Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue was called out two more times last weekend. (Courtesy Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue)

Province could close parks if users aren’t careful warn south Island volunteers

Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue hits record high with two more calls last weekend

Amid record calls for rescues, volunteers remind park users to practise an abundance of caution as there is a risk the province could close its outdoor spaces.

A pair of calls last weekend on the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail near China Beach highlight those worries, says Victoria Weber, senior SAR manager for Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue.

On Aug. 15 around 1 p.m., the SAR team was called for a man who fell down a cliff near the beach and was believed to have two broken legs. That call wrapped around 8 p.m. after the man was taken to hospital by helicopter.

Sunday, a couple out exploring waterfalls near China Beach got caught up when a man fell while carrying camping gear up a creekbed. The 911 call came in around 8 p.m. from a woman who had hiked to the beach.

The SAR team expected they were about 20 minutes west of the parking lot.

READ ALSO: Search and rescue calls climb as more people get outdoors

“We sent a limited team out there but they weren’t where they said they were. We ended up searching and we couldn’t find them. They had become concerned about the tide and moved off of the beach but didn’t have any way to let us know,” Weber said.

Under lightning and rain, the couple was found shortly after midnight. The man was carried out by stretcher and passed off to ambulance around 2 a.m. Monday.

Weekend training in August near Port Renfrew also highlights how busy trails are this summer, Weber said.

Parking areas are overflowing and so are callouts for search and rescue. Last year Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue had 30 calls, an average of 2.5 per month. Last weekend’s calls surpassed that total with 32 to date.

“Our call volume is up, we’ve surpassed our annual total from last year. We really encourage people to get outdoors and enjoy the wonderful West Coast we live on, but with an abundance of caution,” Weber said.

Going overboard is key. Not only are responders putting themselves at risk of physical harm and COVID-19 exposure, Weber noted, but there’s concern the provincial health officer will close parks if people aren’t more careful.

Locally, last weekend 20 volunteers were out Saturday, with the knowledge a boat or helicopter could be needed, and another 30 were out for Sunday’s rescue.

Across the province, 79 ground search and rescue groups include more than 2,500 unpaid professionals tasked with 1,700 incidents in a typical year.

Last month Emergency Management B.C. recorded 333 search and rescue events across the province.

“This is an undesired record for any year. It is more worrisome a record has been set during a pandemic,” B.C. Search Rescue Association board member Jim McAllister said in a release.

READ ALSO: Military to fly old rescue planes longer as COVID-19 delays new aircraft


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca

Search and Rescue

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
Saanich teen ‘locked inside,’ regaining speech after severe brain hemorrhage

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

The Maritime Museum of British Columbia’s Float the Boat fundraiser campaign is underway. The goal is to raise $25,000 in donations to help with the cost of running virtual programs and onsite operations. (Courtesy Maritime Museum of B.C.)
Maritime Museum of B.C. looks to Float the Boat in Victoria

Fundraiser proceeds will support multitude of virtual programs and onsite operations

A new daycare at Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre is slated to open in September. (Rendering courtesy of West Shore Parks and Recreation)
Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre brings daycare centre to Colwood

New centre to offer 80 spaces come September

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
B.C. ramping up screening for faster-spreading COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’

B.C. has sequenced about 11,000 COVID-positive samples since last February

Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)
COVID-19: Quality Foods makes $2-per-hour employee pay premium permanent

Island-based grocery chain had extended increase twice in 2020

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

Most Read