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Man rescued near Castlegar after resident hears cries for help from across the Columbia River

Long-line helicopter rescue used to lift man to safety
Castlegar Search and Rescue assisted in a rescue off the Mel DeAnna Trail April 21. Photo: CSAR

A local man was rescued from an embankment near Castlegar thanks to an alert dog owner and first responders.

Early Friday morning (April 21), a Blueberry Creek resident was letting their dog outside when they heard calls for help that appeared to be coming from across the Columbia River in an area below the Mel DeAnna Trail, according to the Ootischenia Fire Department’s assistant chief, Cory Medland.

Castlegar Search and Rescue (CSAR) was called while Medland and Castlegar police began trying to locate where the calls were coming from.

A man was eventually found about 500 metres down a steep, overgrown bank off of the far end of the trail. He had spent the night there after losing his way.

Due to the man’s condition and the difficult terrain, a decision was made to call for a helicopter-assisted rescue.

With the assistance of Nelson Search and Rescue (NSAR), CSAR and the regional air rescue team, a long-line was used to lift the man to the trail’s parking lot off of Highway 3.

“It was a large group effort and very effective inter-agency effort,” said Medland.

NSAR member Chandrima Lavoie, who was the incident manager for the rescue, said the task went as well as it possibly could given the situation, with no complications.

She has a few words of advice for anyone headed out on hiking trails this spring.

“Check out BC Adventure Smart if you are going out hiking and make sure you have all of the essentials with you.

“If you do get into trouble, call us early — search and rescue is free.”

READ MORE: Considerable avalanche danger remains as temperatures begin to rise

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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