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Two missing teens found safe after overnight stay in backcountry

Nelson SAR said the two missing snowboarders were located Monday morning by helicopter at 8:45 a.m. — Nelson SAR photo

Nelson Search and Rescue report that two missing teens have been located without incident following a night spent in the backcountry.

Nelson SAR said in a media release Monday, members were activated 6:30 p.m. Sunday (January 5) after it was reported that two 16-year-old males were overdue from their snowboarding day at the Whitewater Ski Resort south of Nelson.

Nelson SAR said 10 members were deployed overnight to patrol roads with lights and sirens to attract the males to safety. Unfortunately, the boys were not located.

Nelson SAR said a helicopter and ground teams were deployed into the Monday morning resulting in the boys being located at 8:45 a.m. by air in the Qua valley south of the ski resort, and outside ski area boundaries. 

“Teams were coordinated to contact the boys and they were flown to safety,” Nelson SAR said.

“The subjects were in good health, but it was very fortunate that weather allowed for the use of a helicopter to locate the pair as they were heading down valley and this could have been an extended search with current weather conditions.”

Nelson SAR said the area in question has resulted in many searches in the past as adventurers can easily become disoriented on ridge during bad weather and inadvertently head down wrong side of backcountry ridge.

“It was heard to have been said that some homework found in a backpack aided in starting a fire in the night,” Nelson SAR said.

RCMP said the pair are very fortunate to escape without any injury or illness as a result of exposure to the elements.

"We are told that the pair had the wherewithal to construct a shelter and build a fire for warmth, and more importantly stay put and wait for help," said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, RCMP Southeast District Media Relations Officer.

Nelson SAR would like to thank Whitewater Ski Patrol for their support to teams as well as South Columbia SAR, Castlegar SAR for their support in the effort.

“It is suggested that adventures go to the website for information on trip planning and lists of essentials needed to survive such experiences,” Nelson SAR said.