Tragic conclusions to Island search and rescue operations are taking a toll, crews say
Published Saturday, January 16, 2021 1:23PM PST Last Updated Saturday, January 16, 2021 7:28PM PST
VANCOUVER -- Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue teams capped off a busy and emotionally taxing week by rescuing two hikers on Bluff Mountain Friday night.
One of the hikers had an injured ankle and couldn't make it out on their own, so the pair called 911, according to senior search manager Vickie Webber.
Search teams were able to find the hikers - who had no lights with them - after dark, Webber said.
The call came less than a week after Juan de Fuca crews located the body of missing Langford teenager Andre Courtemanche in Goldstream Provincial Park.
Webber told CTV News Vancouver Island the tragic conclusion to the search was difficult for crews.
"We had a long day on Saturday, another search on Sunday, and it's a challenge for us all," she said.
Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue was also involved in the search for missing kayaker Timothy Ross this week. The man's kayak was found on Wednesday and the search was suspended on Thursday. He is believed to have drowned, although his body has not been recovered.
"It takes a toll, especially during this pandemic," Webber said of the volume and nature of the calls over the last seven days.
"The pandemic adds a whole additional layer to everything that we do - our preliminary, when we're activated, when we're doing the cleanup - it just adds a whole intense layer to everything that we're doing," Webber said. "So, we really encourage people if they're participating in the outdoors - which we all love and encourage - to have an abundance of caution. Keep us all safe."