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Weekend Hikers Get Help From Above

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Rescue helicopters among many using Village airspace


photo courtesy of Talon Helicopters

A call for help to BC Ambulance brought Lions Bay Search and Rescue (SAR) in to execute a successful backcountry rescue this weekend.


SAR Manager Ed Langford reports that two well-equipped hikers who started at Porteau Cove on Saturday managed to summit two peaks before one of the hikers turned an ankle while descending. Even equipped with poles, the individual had limited weight-bearing ability, so they called for help. Because of the location of the hikers, the call was routed through to SAR.

Langford says that since the hikers called for rescue early and followed instructions, it allowed for a quick and efficient response, with a helicopter bringing rescuers to help the hikers at the Deeks Peak summit. The injured hiker was directed to seek further medical attention.

Later in the weekend, another low-flying yellow helicopter was spotted over the village, however in that case, SAR was not involved. Langford notes although LBSAR increasingly relies on helicopters as an efficient and timely means of search and rescue and rendering aid, helicopters fly above Lions Bay for all kinds of other reasons, too. "These machines use the same air space over the village, and consequently it's often assumed SAR is in operation when in fact it is the wider industry," he says.

The air space over the village regularly accommodates helicopters from Grouse Mountain taking sightseers above the Lions, heli-service and industry choppers that ferry commuters from Squamish and Whistler, and BC Ambulance Air Medivac and RCMP Air 1 on emergency duty.

"When these are summed up, there's regular helicopter traffic that can be heard from Lions Bay and often the sound is amplified by the amphitheatre effect of the mountains above," says Langford.

While not every chopper buzzing overhead means a rescue, residents and local hikers can be assured that when they are needed, LBSAR is only a phone call away.



Got thoughts to share about LBSAR? Leave your comment below, or email us at editor@lionsbaywatershed.ca

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LBSAR members deserve more recognition than they generally receive. They provide a great service to the hikers who are often ill-prepared for their adventures. The circumstances and conditions under which LBSAR operates can be incredibly challenging..

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