Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Teens Found in Snowy Backcountry Hours Away from Death: Searcher: B.C. Teens Survive Two Nights Stuck in Woods

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Teens Found in Snowy Backcountry Hours Away from Death: Searcher: B.C. Teens Survive Two Nights Stuck in Woods

Article excerpt

CAYCUSE, B.C. - Mario Gauvin is well-acquainted with the stages of hypothermia, so when the search-and-rescue manager heard that two of the teenagers his team was rescuing on Vancouver Island were found lying in the snow to rest, he knew things were serious.

The pair of young women were among five teens who became stranded on a remote logging road on Monday near Lake Cowichan, about 100 kilometres northwest of Victoria, after their four-by-four truck ran out of gas. They were all between the ages of 17 and 19.

One young man made it to a nearby town the following day, while the other four, two women and two men, weren't rescued until early Wednesday morning, when searchers arrived on snowmobiles.

The rescue team found the two women, who had left the truck in an attempt to hike out, lying in the snow, said Gauvin.

"It (hypothermia) comes to a point where you're cold and freezing and you're shivering, and then after that you get warm, so they got to the point where they said, 'That's enough, I'm tired,' and they just lie down in the snow to go to sleep," Gauvin, a member of Cowichan Search and Rescue, said in an interview Thursday.

"I don't think they would have survived another four or five hours."

The two women were later treated for hypothermia and injuries to their feet, said Gauvin. The other two young men, who were still at the vehicle, were also taken to hospital as a precaution, according to the RCMP.

The RCMP said the five teens set out into an area near Lake Cowichan, driving their four-wheel-drive truck down a logging road that was covered in deep snow.

They didn't have any emergency supplies or warm clothes, and the area where they became stranded was out of cellphone range, said Cpl. Warren Potter of the RCMP.

The temperature was hovering around freezing, and the snow was piling up, said Potter.

"With no emergency equipment, such as candles, blankets, appropriate clothing, food or water, they spent the first night in the truck," Potter said in an interview. …

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