Sparwood, Fernie, and Elkford Search and Rescue were all called out by Elk Valley RCMP to search for a group of three people that hadn’t returned from a float down the Elk River.
“At approximately 10:00 pm, RCMP were contacted by a family member advising the three had not been seen or heard from since,” said Elk Valley RCMP. “The individuals were two women age 50 and 26 and a male youth aged 13.”
Volunteers searched through the night on Tuesday until about 4:00 am in hopes of locating the group, which had been floating down the Elk River from Sparwood to the Olsen area.
“First thing in the morning a search of the river was launched using rafts and a helicopter,” said Sparwood Search and Rescue which started their search again around 8:00 am. “SAR members found all three missing subjects soon after, cold but alive, having become stranded on the far side of the river and forced to seek shelter overnight when the hot summer day quickly changed to a series of severe thunderstorms with heavy rain.”
Working together, the helicopter and raft teams managed to reach the three people and safely get them out of the area.
All three were placed in the care of the BC Ambulance Service for further assessment.
“One woman had twisted her ankle and was taken to the Sparwood hospital,” said RCMP. “All three appeared to be in good health and were released from hospital.”
Following the incident, RCMP are reminding the public to heighten their awareness of the dangers associated with floating on the Elk River, thanking Search and Rescue for, “bringing this potential tragedy to a positive outcome.”
“Even on the nicest sunny day the weather in our area is known to change rapidly,” said Sparwood Search and Rescue. “It’s important to be prepared for all kinds of weather on your trip.”