BRITISH COLUMBIA

Hearty trapper shares breakfast with rescuers who risked their lives to save him

12/04/2013 03:11 EST | Updated 02/03/2014 05:59 EST
HOUSTON, B.C. - A hearty trapper who was thrown from his boat on a lake near Houston, B.C., managed to swim to shore in frigid temperatures and even shared breakfast with his rescuers.

When RCMP received a 911 call from a satellite messenger GPS unit, they headed off to Morice Lake with a search and rescue team, staff from the Fisheries Department and local residents who know the remote area.

Staff Sgt. Stephen Rose said the 11 rescuers first had to deal with unplowed roads as they raced to launch their boat and then faced battering winds and overnight temperatures of -20 C to reach the outdoorsman who'd activated his beacon.

Rose credited the rescuers, including two of the trapper's friends, for risking their own lives on the rescue effort, which started at 3:45 p.m. Monday and ended at 2:15 a.m. on Tuesday.

The 62-year-old man encountered rough weather after he put out a trap line, the officer said.

"It's a fairly dangerous lake," Rose said. "The winds got pretty strong and threw him out of his boat, which then capsized."

"Ultimately, the reason he was rescued is because he was prepared. He had the clothing, he had the equipment and he was able to communicate that he was in trouble, which enabled us to find him."

When the man arrived on shore, he activated his emergency beacon and started a fire as he waited for help.

Rose said the trapper was in good shape when he was brought back to Houston, about 85 kilometres northeast of the lake, and shared his breakfast with rescuers at a local restaurant where his adventure became the talk of the town.

"Obviously, we as the police played the role in arranging and facilitating and going to assist," Rose said. "But really it came down to the locals who are familiar with the area and had the requisite equipment to get us as the rescuers into the area, and they deserve all the kudos."