On June 26, NSR was activated by North Vancouver RCMP for a missing 53 year old male Australian tourist who had become separated from his wife while hiking in Lynn Canyon. The information provided by the wife indicated a strong possibility of a fall into the canyon. Having no cell phone or other means of immediate communication, there was no way to communicate with the subject. What ensued was a full scale air and ground search focusing on the canyon itself, and a parallel social media campaign to try and locate the individual through public vigilance (should he be somewhere else).
SAR crews were deployed via ropes to descend the banks of the canyon and search the many hidden pools. Furthermore, a helicopter flight crew scoured high probability areas while our kayak team deployed in dry suites to enter the water.
Ultimately, the subject was located when he approached a member of the public at a local shopping centre. It turns out, he had continued down the trail after becoming separated. He ultimately spent most of the day waiting for his wife to show up at the shopping centre and only approached someone to contact police after a number of hours.
Some learning points from this call (for tourists and locals):
- Carry a cellphone (even if only a pay as you go).
- Have an agreed upon meeting place if you become separated on the trail and have no other forms of communications.
- If you do become separated, and have no other way to communicate and no meeting place, contact the local police if you become concerned (sooner rather than later)
- Another option is to return to the hotel and make sure to leave a OBVIOUS note if you do not stay there until contact is made.
- Ultimately, if a person is missing in the wilderness, call the police and get SAR rolling (as the wife did in this case), because it is better to be safe than sorry.