A trapper on Morice Lake was rescued Dec. 3 after being thrown from his boat, swimming to shore, and sending a signal for help through his satellite GPS unit.
Eleven rescuers including Houston RCMP, local residents, Houston Search and Rescue (SAR) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), found the trapper at 2:15 a.m. Dec. 3, ten hours after he sent the signal for help through his SPOT GPS unit.
“He survived because he was prepared,” said RCMP Sergeant Stephen Rose.
“He had requisite clothing to keep him safe on a boat and to keep him dry. He was equipped with a lighter to start a fire, and he had a GPS device, through which he was able to send a signal to ask for help, and he stayed put after making it to shore and waited to be rescued,” Sgt. Rose said.
The SPOT unit was activated at 3:45 p.m. Dec. 2, sending a 9-1-1 call to police.
Sgt. Rose says police determined the terrain using the GSP coordinates and contacted the local SAR and residents who had a boat and knowledge of the remote area around Morice Lake.
Facing overnight temperatures of -20 degrees, strong winds and complete darkness, the rescuers made their way to Morice Lake where a rescue effort was launched, said a recent RCMP press release.
After several hours on the water, rescuers reached the GPS coordinates provided by SPOT and found the trapper on shore, wet but in good health.
The trapper was brought back to Houston, where he demonstrated his appreciation by sharing breakfast with the rescuers.
The boat, in decent shape, was later found on the opposite side of the lake through a helicopter search.
“This is a great example of an avid outdoorsman who ran into trouble in the wilderness but had the equipment and clothing to keep himself safe until help arrived,” Sgt. Rose said.
“Obviously we as the police played the role of arranging and facilitating and going to assist in the rescue, but really it came down to the locals who were familiar with the area and had the requisite equipment to get us as the rescuers into the area.
“They deserve all the kudos,” he said.
“It demonstrates the tenacity of our Search and Rescue group and the willingness of local residents to help emergency services offer help to someone during their time of need.
“The willingness of local residents to risk their own lives to save another is outstanding!”