An RCMP Air One helicopter. (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)

An RCMP Air One helicopter. (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)

Boaters stranded on Pitt Lake rescued early Thursday morning

RCMP Air 1 helicopter helps locate two women on jet ski

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue found two women who were suffering through a cold night on Pitt Lake on Wednesday.

Search manager Rick Laing said the RMSAR got a call at 10 p.m. Wednesday about two women jet skiers who were overdue. They had been enjoying the lake with a group, and were ready to pack up for the day, when they went out for “one last spin.”

Unfortunately, their watercraft wasn’t up to one more.

They were out of sight in the large lake when their jet ski broke down. Their friends searched for them with the help of another boater. Their search unsuccessful, they called emergency responders.

The lake is more than 50 square kilometers in area, and the search and rescue team’s two vessels worked with the help of the RCMP Air 1 helicopter. The aircraft, using heat-sensing equipment, was able to locate a heat signature, and direct the team to the women.

“They were fine – just a little chilly,” said Laing.

The women were treated for mild hypothermia, and brought back to Grant Narrows Park at about 1:30 a.m.

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Laing noted the women had with them most of the equipment they should – a paddle, personal flotation devices and whistles. The one thing that could have helped was a flashlight or flares, he said.

They were also wise to stay with their vessel, rather than try to swim for it, he noted. It’s much easier for searchers to find a boat than a swimmer.

Although they had a paddle, he noted the tidal lake can have strong currents.

“They were paddling, but with the tide coming in, they likely weren’t going anywhere,” said Laing.

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