Based on a recent lawsuit against Golden SAR – they have decided to suspend services.
For more info – Victoria New Story.
BC Local News Story – NSR reaction on lawsuit.
June 16, 2009 at 9:43 pm -
Some editorial comments from me personally regarding Golden SAR.
First off – the circumstances are tragic, and my heart goes out to the husband who lost his wife. I can't imagine what this must be like.
However, it is unfortunate that the subject that was rescued has now decided to sue Golden SAR. They have suspended services, and other SAR teams are potentially looking to do the same until the issue of insurance coverage and liability is cleared up. Please note: NSR is continuing service.
I would like to point out that Golden SAR did not cause the subjects to 1. Ski out of bounds 2. be unprepared 3. not tell anyone where they were going 4. get lost.
Expecting rescue and then sueing if a rescue is not completed in a timely manner, or a manner that is not expected from volunteer rescue teams is unacceptable in my opinion. If you go into the wilderness you need to take responsibility for yourself, and if something unfortunate happens, and you are lucky enough to be rescued, then great. Expecting someone to rescue you is leaving the responsibility in someone else's hands.
Our society is becoming too litigious. In Europe the attitude is much different – you are responsible for you – if you screw up – its your fault, no one else's. Expecting someone else to bail you out, and suing them if they don't is ridiculous.
June 19, 2009 at 12:12 am -
What is missing from your well written discussion of this case is the other side of the story……..as usual, there is a significant amount of mitigating information that just might alter your opinion.
There is no argument that these people put themselves in harm's way. They were unprepared, inexperienced, and negligent for doing what they did. If they had filed suit after spending a day or two in the back-country and complained that it took too long to rescue them I would agree that this suit was frivolous. What happened was that they made a significant error in judgment, did their best to get out and signal for help, AND WERE THEN LEFT OUT IN THE SNOW FOR 10 DAYS AFTER THEIR SIGNALS HAD BEEN SEEN AND REPORTED TO THE OFFICIALS.
The part of your story that is missing is the dysfunctional relationship that exists between Golden SAR, the Golden RCMP, and local Heli-Ski operators. There have been numerous instances over the last few years where friction between these parties has led to conflict regarding who, when, and how a rescue should be done. The procedural errors and passing of the buck that happened on this call is what is being questioned n the suit.
The failure here was systemic. The fellow filing the suit has openly admitted his liability in getting himself and his wife lost in the first place. What he is saying is that it should be reasonably expected that his wife could have survived this ordeal if Golden SAR, the RCMP, and the local heli-ski companies could have had a functional working relationship that would have resulted in the launch of a rescue effort in a timely fashion.
This is a legitimate law suit and all allied SAR agencies in BC should pay close attention to what is happening here. It is incumbent on all of us to have due diligence and adequate operating guideline to prevent terrible situations such as this.
Taking responsibility for yourself is one thing (especially when you do something as blatantly foolish as this couple did by going out of bounds unprepared), systemic negligence is something entirely different. This was a botched call from beginning to end and the agencies that contributed to that botch need to be held accountable.