UPDATE: Pathfinders safe after being stranded on Alouette lake by strong winds

Ridge search and rescue responded to call on Sunday

  • Jun. 10, 2018 7:15 p.m.

Nine members of a Girl Guides troupe were rescued on Sunday from Alouette Lake.

The Vancouver troupe, made up of two leaders and seven girls ranging in age from 12-years to 16-years-old, became stranded after the wind picked up and they didn’t feel like they could paddle back down the lake again from Moyer Creek, where they had been camping.

Rick Laing with Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue said it was a good call on their part.

“If they’ld tried paddling down in a head-wind it would have taken them all of 8 to 10 hours,” said Laing.

“It took them about four hours to paddle up the lake and for us in the boat it probably took us maybe 15 or so to zip up there and bring them back down,” he said.

The group had been travelling in four canoes.

The call came in just after 1 p.m. with an In Reach device, a satellite two-way messaging mechanism.

“If people go out in the wilderness or even travel long distances by vehicle, it’s just a good thing to have,” said Laing, adding that the troupe was well equipped for the wilderness.

“Pretty much anywhere you can see sky you are going to get a signal out.,” added Laing.

Laing says strong winds can last for hours on any of the lakes in the area including Pitt Lake, Alouette, Lake, Stave Lake and Harrison Lake and paddlers should be prepared to either spend an extra night camping or to paddle back but stick close to the shore knowing that it will take them twice as long.

An emergency communications device also helps.

“Either a spot beacon, In Reach device or a satellite phone. Something more than a just a cell phone,” said Laing.

So far the season has been quiet this year for Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue. There have only been a couple of searches since January including the search for a boat on the Fraser River a couple of weeks ago that they failed to locate.

“We think it was just either somebody called in error or the person managed to get themselves out of trouble if they were actually ever in trouble,” said Laing.

This weekend members will be taking part in joint training with Coquitlam Search and Rescue for long-line rescues with a helicopter.

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