Paul Berry, search manager with CVSAR said the team was activated around 5:30 p.m. Dec. 19 for two people missing whose destination was Mt. Drabble.

Paul Berry, search manager with CVSAR said the team was activated around 5:30 p.m. Dec. 19 for two people missing whose destination was Mt. Drabble.

Searchers guide cold, wet snowmobilers safely out of wilderness near Mt. Washington

Weather conditions very tricky, with zero visibility, blowing snow and avalanche risk

Two snowmobilers were safely guided out of the backcountry near Mount Washington, as Comox Valley Search and Rescue is warning the public about avalanche safety.

Paul Berry, search manager with CVSAR said the team was activated around 5:30 p.m. Dec. 19 for two people missing whose destination was Mt. Drabble.

“That gave us a good starting point,” said Berry, who added weather conditions at the time were very tricky for the team with zero visibility and blowing snow. Rescuers had to conduct an assessment to ensure it was safe as the avalanche risk was high in the alpine and considerable at the tree line.

CVSAR sent two teams – one in a snow cat and another on snowmobiles. Teams were able to make text contact with the two snowmobilers and were able to determine an exact location.

“(They) were cold and wet and we were able to guide them out. They weren’t stuck but they didn’t know how to get back.”

Berry said with winter weather in the backcountry, CVSAR advises anyone planning on exploring the area to do so after checking weather conditions and to ensure they have proper training and equipment, including a beacon and a shovel, and they understand how to use both. He added anyone thinking of exploring the backcountry should visit the Vancouver Island Avalanche Bulletin.

He added 2020 has been “a unique year” with a record amount of calls for CVSAR.



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