NORMALLY, when North Shore Rescue volunteers go headlong into the bush to find a lost soul, theres actually someone out there in need of help.
But when they scrambled two ground teams and a helicopter to search the Mount Seymour area last week, it was all for a false alarm one that should have been avoided, according to North Shore Rescue team leader Tim Jones.
The RCMP asked for North Shore Rescues help after a mountain biker last seen on July 16 had failed to come home. He told his roommate he would be riding for the rest of the day.
Jones interviewed the worried roommate and determined the overdue mountain biker could be lost in the rugged Boulder Creek area.
We immediately got a helicopter up with fading light to look into the Boulder Creek specifically to see if he was in there, injured and could not get out, Jones said. Concurrently we had two field teams go into Boulder Creek and into the Indian Arm.
The mans cell phone was reportedly not working and he was otherwise incommunicado.
RCMP checked with local hospitals and the mountain bike community responded by spreading the word on social media.
Social media, it turned out, was the key to finding the missing man who had been at a party in Vancouver all along.
There was a lot of activity of people trying to figure out where he was, Jones said. The RCMP phoned us. They were not pleased. He had been located at a party in Kitsilano.
The attempted rescue not only took volunteers time and resources, it also put them in danger, Jones said. Several search and rescue volunteers have died while responding to false alarms.
This individual, in our opinion, is a completely irresponsible person, Jones said. He put our team members at risk.
While it is always advisable to let a friend know when you are going into the backcountry, its also important to follow up if you change plans, Jones said.
© Copyright 2013