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

Trevor Davis, base manager of the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation in Sidney, stands in front of the Hecate Sentinal, an oil skimming vessel based at Sidney’s Van Isle Marina. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Oil spill response base taking shape on Saanich Peninsula

Enhanced base with elements in North Saanich and Sidney to be fully operational in fall 2022

The O’Meara family – (left to right) Mari, Max, Adam and Rei – spent Saturday afternoon picking out the perfect tree. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Santa’s Forest tree sale in Saanich implements one-way perusing, curbside pick up

Christmas tree, wreath sales in Braefoot Park through Dec. 24

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

(Black Press Media file)
Webinars help Greater Victoria residents affected by dementia prepare for the holidays

COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions can add additional challenges for people living with dementia

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Most Read