One of four Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue teams found the two children who were stranded on a neighbouring Coquitlam mountain overnight Sunday.
A boy and a girl, ages 6 and 7, respectively, along with their father – all visiting from Georgia, U.S. – had fallen down a steep cliff while on a hike Sunday on Burke Mountain, police said in a statement Monday.
Although injured, the father climbed back up the cliff and went to find help for his stranded children.
Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue received a call shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday to assist in the search.
“Anytime we get a call like that, we bring in as many resources as we can,” said Rick Laing, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue manager.
About a dozen members of the local team responded to the call and were deployed to where the children were last seen, somewhere off a trail to Munro Lake.
The Ridge members were divided into four teams of three and worked the drainage gullies of the mountain by foot.
“Typically, when people get lost, that’s what they do. Going downhill is the easiest. Typically, they follow creeks and drainages,” Laing added.
It took the teams around seven or eight hours to locate the children.
“I believe one of our teams worked one of the drainages from the bottom up and the other worked from the top down and they were one of the teams that located the two kids,” said Laing.
It was that team that made voice contact with the children before the other three converged on the location.
The search was challenging, he added, because team members were in an area where the footing is generally loose with steep terrain and a lot of water.
“You are dealing with underbrush, typical West Coast rain forest. It’s not flat clear ground,” said Laing, adding that members were also working in the dark.
The children were located between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. Monday morning, southeast of the location where they were last seen.
They were huddled under a sweater, Laing said.
He added they might have had some cuts and scrapes, but no serious injuries.
Once the children were found, Coquitlam Search and Rescue brought in their long-line crew and lifted the children out, then went back to pick up the search team members.
Search teams were called in from all over the Lower Mainland, including Surrey, the North Shore and Central Fraser Valley.
The search included a helicopter, drone and police dog.
Coquitlam Search and Rescue posted an update on Facebook, saying how lucky it was to have the resources of neighbouring teams to help in such an urgent matter.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart, in a Facebook post, thanked search team members “who answer the call day or night to rescue those in distress.”