Search and rescue volunteers in Parksville Qualicum Beach busy with three calls in one day

Boy falls off bank; car goes into lake; woman missing

It was another busy but successful weekend for Arrowsmith Search and Rescue in what is already a record year.

“Our first call on Saturday was at about 3:30 p.m. to assist B.C. Ambulance with a young boy down an embankment off Kaye Road,” said ASR search manager Gordon Yelland.

B.C Ambulance and the Nanoose Bay Fire Department called in ASR thinking that the boy would have to be rescued by rope from above, but with ASR on scene, there were enough people on hand that they were able to lower him to a bit of a trail at the bottom and he was safe within less than an hour, Yelland said.

A couple of hours later, just before 6 p.m., they were called to assist the Coombs Fire Department and other emergency services when a vehicle ended up under several feet of water in Cameron Lake. The female driver, the lone occupant of the vehicle, got out on her own but ASR divers searched the area to confirm she was alone and then helped tow the vehicle out.

Then around 10:45 p.m. the same evening, ASR was called to help find a missing female in the Englishman River Estuary that RCMP said had disclosed to someone that she wanted to hurt herself. “We enlisted the RCMP dog handler, then when they did a sweep of the area and didn’t find her we called in search and rescue and the RCMP helicopter was up for awhile,” said Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman.

They searched through the night, peaking at 15 ASR members and then at 5 a.m. called in mutual aid, with 19 members responding from search and rescue in Comox, Port Alberni, Cowichan and Saltspring Island, Yelland said.

Just as search organizers developed a wider search grind plan, the woman was found by an RCMP officer in town, outside the search area.

“She did have an injury that needed attending to, but it was minor and she’ll be fine,” Foreman said.

“In all my years I don’t remember three calls back to back — that’s probably a record for us,” Yelland said, adding that while 2014 was an unusually busy year with 32 calls, the all-volunteer organization has already had 26 this year.

The group is also busy expanding their hall at the Coombs #2 Fire Hall. Visit www.asar.ca for more information or to help the busy group.