A distress call from an emergency beacon helped Powell River RCMP save a 47-year-old North Vancouver woman from a “potentially life threatening situation” hiking atop an icy slope near Center Lake on Sunday.
Around 5:45 p.m. the woman and another hiker were ice hiking along a mountainside north of Powell River when the woman lost her footing and fell down the icy slope, striking her head on an exposed rock area.
“Head injuries are very, very serious because you never know the extent of the injury until you can get to a medical facility and have the proper scans done,” said Cpl. Darren Lagan with Vancouver Island RCMP.
Luckily, Powell River Search and Rescue and RCMP were able to quickly respond as the hikers used an emergency beacon with a GPS locater.
“It’s almost a lifeline for people that are going to do some of these more extreme sports or activities,” said Lagan.
An RCMP helicopter found the hikers by 7:15 p.m. and the woman was treated for a head injury on scene and flown to the Powell River Hospital where her injuries were reported as non-life threatening.
“It just could have easily been the other scenario,” said Lagan. “(But) in this case these people were properly equipped.”
“We didn’t have the challenge of locating because that beacon was there — so it’s a very good lesson for anyone.”
RCMP faced this very challenge in another rescue on Sunday when crew members on a boat in the remote waters of Browning Passage near Pine Island called for help.
Two crew members said their skipper assaulted and threatened to kill them, but without an exact location it took emergency crews upwards of two hours to find them.
“It takes a lot more time to find people in the remote areas of British Columbia because you don’t know their exact location,” said Lagan.
“That’s exactly why people carry these (locaters) — it was used properly and gave us real time information,” he said of the speedy Center Lake recovery.
After the woman was rescued, two SAR technicians stayed on the mountainside overnight with the second hiker as it was too dark for a second recovery. They were removed from the mountainside by a commercial helicopter Monday morning.