North Vancouver – North Shore Rescuers Awarded For Heroic Effort

On Friday, April 11th, 2008, three members of North Shore Rescue will get special Officer in Charge Commendations from the North Vancouver RCMP for a dangerous rescue last year.

Superintendent Gord TOMLINSON will present North Shore Rescuers Tim JONES and Gord FERGUSON, along with pilot Peter Murray of Talon Helicopters, with the award. Five other rescuers will also receive a unit commendation. The ceremony with be held at the Bone Creek Search and Rescue Station up the Seymour Demonstration Forest Road at 2:30pm.

On January 19th, 2007, 30-year-old Christopher MORLEY of Vancouver was snowshoeing on Mount Seymour when he fell over 100 metres down an icy slope near Theta Lake. MORLEY was badly hurt, and his partner, 36-year-old Simon CHESTERTON, could do no more than call for help.

Bog Author Note – Simon attempted to access Chris at risk to himself, as per our Task blog, and NSR would like to thank him as he was able to lead NSR to the location quickly via his celtel.

Rescuers JONES and FERGUSON were flown in to the general area to be with the injured man. However, it was getting late, visibility was terrible and conditions were icy. The rescue helicopters were grounded and both JONES and FERGUSON had to stay the night with MORLEY.

The next day was even worse. Over one foot of new snow pushed the avalanche risk to extreme. The rescuers’ snow shelter was nearly buried by cascades of snow. More rescuers were able to reach MORLEY but it was still too dangerous to bring him out. Both JONES and FERGUSON were among those who stayed behind for a second night.

On the third day, MURRAY’s skill as a pilot was severely tested. He hovered just above the ice so MORLEY could be loaded into the chopper and taken to safety. Over 85 people cooperated in the risky and accomplished effort to get MORLEY to safety. MORLEY, a carpenter and father of three, said from his hospital bed that he owed the rescuers his life.

The Theta Lake rescue highlights the good work done by rescuers on the North Shore. It also shows that even when you’re experienced and think you’re prepared, the backcountry is a dangerous place.

Released by:

Cst. Michael McLaughlin
Media Relations Officer/ Bicycle Section
North Vancouver RCMP