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Missing Couple Found Alive in Backcountry

A 24-year-old man and 22-year-old woman declared missing on Thursday have been safely located in the East Kootenay backcountry, where they had been stranded for nearly a week.

Columbia Valley RCMP confirmed that Damon Brodeur and Catherine Gibbons were found safe and sound Thursday after an aircraft with RCMP Air Services spotted Gibbons’ silver SUV while doing an air sweep east of Wasa.

The vehicle was located in a remote area along the Quin Creek Forest Service Road near Top of the World Provincial Park, where it had been stuck in a creek crossing filled with snow and ice.

“An outstretched orange tarp, a large arrow and the word ‘HELP’ each etched in the snow within close proximity to the abandoned vehicle, ultimately led to the discovery of the man and woman who had taken up shelter in a nearby cabin,” confirmed Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesman for the BC RCMP.

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The couple had reported to RCMP that they had been stranded for nearly a week with their dog, as they took shelter from the elements and waited for help.

RCMP safely extracted them from the backcountry to a local hospital, where they were given a full medical assessment as a precaution.

“All were in good spirits,” said O’Donaghey.

Following the successful search, Columbia Valley RCMP are reaching out to thank Columbia Valley Search and Rescue, the Civilian Air Search & Rescue Association (CASARA), the B.C. Conservation Officer’s Service and Cold Stream Helicopters for their assistance in helping locate the couple and their dog.

The missing woman’s silver 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe spotted by RCMP Air Services with the arrow and “Help” drawn into the snow. (Supplied by BC RCMP)
The cabin where the missing couple took shelter while waiting for help. (Supplied by BC RCMP)
22-year-old Catherine Gibbons and 24-year-old Damon Brodeur after being found safe and sound. (Supplied by BC RCMP)
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