Three individuals have been located safe after becoming stranded overnight during a river float trip.
Around 3:00 p.m. on July 23, the group entered the Elk River and began their journey from Sparwood to the Olsen area. According to Fernie Search and Rescue, they became stranded on the far side of the river and were forced to seek shelter overnight when the hot summer day switched to a severe thunderstorm.
By 10:00 p.m. RCMP was contacted by a family member advising them the individuals, two women age 50 and 26, and one male youth age 13, had not been seen or heard from.
Search and Rescue (SAR) from Sparwood, Fernie and Elkford all responded and continued to search the river banks until 4:00 a.m., however due to darkness and extreme thunderstorms, the search was suspended.
The next day around 8:00 a.m., Sparwood SAR deployed a helicopter to assist in the search and located all three missing individuals. One woman had twisted her ankle and was taken to the Sparwood hospital. All three appeared to be in good health and were released from hospital.
“Elk Valley RCMP would like to remind the public to heighten their awareness of the dangers associated with floating the Elk river,” said RCMP Cst. Debra Katerenchuk.
“The recent heavy rains have caused the river to flow higher and faster than normal for this time of year. Elk Valley RCMP would like to acknowledge Elkford, Sparwood and Fernie SAR for bringing this potential tragedy to a positive outcome.”