Backcountry skiers located by Mabel Lake

Search and rescue put out a crew Wednesday afternoon which included the use of the organization’s helicopter.

Two experienced backcountry skiers reported missing by family members were unaware anybody was looking for them.

The two men – one from Lumby, one from out of town, both in their mid-to-early 20s – had gone on a multi-day ski excursion at the north end of Mabel Lake, near Tsuius Mountain, and were keeping in touch with their family by using a spot beacon.

“The last beacon the family received was Sunday, but the men had been sending out a beacon every day,” said Leigh Pearson with Vernon Search and Rescue.

“When the family hadn’t heard from them on Wednesday, they called RCMP who called us.”

VSR put out a crew Wednesday afternoon which included the use of the organization’s helicopter.

Rescue officials found a small cabin the pair had been using as a base camp, though there was nowhere around the cabin for the helicopter to land.

A couple of search members were winched down from the helicopter to look into the cabin. The men weren’t there but officials found some of their equipment.

With darkness setting in Wednesday, crews had to call off the search and return the helicopter to its base.

As search officials were getting ready to send crews out Thursday morning by air and by ground, word came in from the family that the men had shown up, safe and sound.

“It sounds to me like they had been sending messages with their spot beacon every day and hadn’t realized they weren’t getting through, so there appears to be an issue with the beacon not working properly,” said Pearson. “They were unaware we were looking for them.”

 

Vernon Morning Star