RCMSAR volunteers use electronics to navigate the rescue boat by night. (Photo Submitted)

Marine search and rescue praises volunteer first responders in North Shuswap

Volunteers helped get man injured in side-by-side rollover to Sicamous.

The Shuswap’s marine search and rescue station is praising the work of local first responders in getting an injured man from Seymour Arm to a waiting ambulance in record time.

Fred Banham, station leader for Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Station #106 said they received a call on the evening of Sunday, Oct. 4 asking for assistance transporting an ambulance crew to Seymour Arm, a small community at the northern tip of Shuswap Lake. Banham said the emergency response was due to a side-by-side rollover which left one man injured.

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Banham said by the time the RCMSAR boat had arrived at the wharf in Seymour Arm, the volunteer first responders who operate an ambulance in the local community already had the injured man waiting on a stretcher.

“We didn’t even have to tie the boat up,” Banham said.

“The community is very fortunate to have those volunteers up there.”

With the man, who had suffered injuries to his hand, aboard the rescue boat and in the care of the BC Ambulance Service paramedics Banham said the crew of the boat headed back down the lake to Sicamous in the dark of night. Like the rest of the rescue Banham said the boat made it back to Sicamous in about 58 minutes.

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The RCMSAR vessel Tolonen is able to maintain high speeds on the water after dark using high-tech instruments. It is fitted with a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera which Banham said can be used to spot floating logs or other debris while its radar can pick up boats and even smaller objects like jet skis. Banham said the boat’s electronic chart plotter also allows it to travel through narrow parts of the lake at high speeds even in the dark.

Banham said the entire mission took about two and a half hours.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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