The RCMSAR rescue boat did double duty as an icebreaker to evacuate a man in Seymour Arm who was in need of medical attention on Jan. 10. (RCMSAR Station #106/Facebook)

RCMSAR boat breaks ice on Shuswap Lake to reach man in need of medical attention

The Jan. 10 call saw the rescue boat ramming through ice to reach shore in Seymour Arm

The volunteer crew of the Shuswap Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue station braved icy conditions to get a Seymour Arm man medical attention on Jan. 10.

Station Leader Rob Sutherland said the ambulance station in Chase was dispatched first to assist a man suffering from an ongoing health issue, but it was determined that the boat could reach the remote North Shuswap community faster.

Sutherland said the Tolonen, which is the larger and more modern of the RCMSAR station’s two boats, was dispatched with four RCMSAR volunteers and two paramedics aboard at around 7 p.m. Sutherland said they had reached Seymour Arm by 8 p.m., approaching Daniels Store rather than the government wharf due to heavy snow on the wharf.

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They found the final 200 yards to shore covered in about an inch of ice and had to break through it with the bow of the boat to reach the waiting patient and local first responders.

Sutherland said the RCMSAR crew had trained in the ice on Mara Lake before but this is the first time it was encountered while on a mission.

The RCMSAR crew was back in Sicamous and had the patient on his way by ambulance to Salmon Arm within four hours of setting off.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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