Workers Safely Rescued after First Snowfall Creates Hazardous Conditions

Tumbler Ridge, BC: A group of forestry workers has been safely rescued after first snowfall of the year left them stranded in BC. On Saturday, October 28, 2006 at approximately 3:30 p.m. the RCMP received a call from Chetwynd Forestry Industry (a Division of West Fraser Timber), that 13 of their workers were stranded in the mountains approximately 70 kilometers south of Tumbler Ridge, BC.

The contractors were dropped off in BC near Tumbler Ridge and on the other side of the Alberta border on Friday. The remote areas were only accessible by helicopter and the workers were supposed to be picked up later that day. However, later that afternoon a snowstorm quickly moved in and the helicopters were unable to return and retrieve the BC and Alberta workers. The workers spent the night on the mountain and the company had planned to retrieve the workers on Saturday as the weather was expected to clear. The 13 workers had emergency food, equipment and were able to build emergency shelters. On Saturday, October 28, 2006 the snowstorm increased in intensity, with nearly five feet of snow falling. The company then called police for assistance.

Upon receiving the call the Tumbler RCMP launched a search and rescue operation for the BC workers with the assistance of the BC Provincial Emergency Program, BC Ambulance service, Caribou Road Services, District of Tumbler Ridge, local Search and Rescue out of Fort St. John, and the Department of Defence (DND) with their Buffalo and Hercules Aircrafts and Helicopters with winch capacities.

As a result of the coordinated effort at 10:24 a.m. (MST) all thirteen of the BC workers were rescued and taken their work camp in Alberta for medical assessment. Fortunately, there are only minor injuries with most of the workers suffering minor hypothermia. Those in need of medical treatment will be taken to Grande Prairie Hospital. All of the 47 workers on the Alberta side of the border have also been safely rescued. Any further inquiries are being handled by Mr. Brian Pate with West Fraser Timber at (250) 788-2686.

Released by: Cpl. Kurt Peats

Tumbler Ridge Detachment Phone#: (250) 242-5252