NEWS

Search and rescue death inquest brings 9 recommendations

11/24/2012 09:27 EST | Updated 01/24/2013 05:12 EST
A jury has issued nine recommendations after an inquest into the death of B.C. search and rescue volunteer Sheilah Sweatman during a recovery mission.

Sweatman, 29, died in 2011 while trying to retrieve the body of a woman in a vehicle submerged in the Goat River, near Creston, B.C. A WorkSafeBC report found Sweatman drowned after her leg got wrapped up in a steel cable, which dragged her underwater and that there was no quick way to cut through the cable.

Among the recommendations returned Saturday evening, the jury suggests developing universal standards for swift water rescue and recovery, as well as universal standards for equipment.

The recommendations also suggest all search and rescue teams be audited to make sure they have appropriate equipment and that Emergency Management B.C. review funding models to better support search and rescue organizations.

B.C. Search and Rescue Association president Don Bindon says he's pleased with the recommendations.

"We recognize and understand all of those recommendations," he said. "They are not foreign to us at all. We are implementing some of them already and we're going to implement the rest to the best of our ability."

An emotional Wynn Sweatman, Sheilah's father, spoke with reporters after the coroner's jury delivered its recommendations. "I told them that Sheilah was courageous and passionate and that the managers and the system needs to protect the passionate volunteers."

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