A search for two children missing on Burke Mountain was successful on Monday morning. Coquitlam Search and Rescue crews are pictured in this file image from 2018. NICK PROCAYLO / PNG
Two children were rescued Monday morning after spending the night trapped on the side of a cliff on Coquitlam’s Burke Mountain.
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“It was really elation,” said Coquitlam Search and Rescue captain Ian MacDonald of the rescue. “This is rugged terrain that they were lost, so we were just really thankful they were found alive and well.”
“Our efforts began late [Sunday] when the kids and their father were traversing down a trail on Burke Mountain,” Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik said. “All three fell down a steep, treacherous cliff. The father was able to make the difficult climb up the cliff while injured to go and get help.”
The six year-old girl and seven year-old boy had fallen off the edge of a steep cliff while hiking with their father on Sunday evening. The family is visiting from the United States.
The family had set out to go fishing at nearby Munro Lake when they went off the trail. That’s when the kids fell off the cliff. The father, who was injured in the fall and had no cellular reception, ran a kilometre over difficult terrain to alert search and rescue teams Sunday evening.
“The father was able to make the difficult climb up the cliff while injured to get help,” said Coquitlam RCMP Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik.
A glimpse of the rescue of two young kids on Burke Mountain in Coquitlam. @CoquitlamSAR about to update media on the search and rescue of the 6-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy. The pair spent the night on the mountain alone. @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/m1jMuya5l8
The children spent the night trapped, surrounded by creeks and waterfalls that MacDonald said could have swept them away.
The girl and boy, aged six and seven, and their father apparently slipped into a creek and were hurt around the Monroe Lake area while hiking on Sunday. The family, visiting from the U.S., had been trying to get to Monroe Lake to fish, but got off track.
Search and rescue — which included ground crews, a helicopter, a drone and a police dog — searched through the evening without luck, but were able to find the kids Monday around 8:30 a.m. thanks to a backpack they had misplaced and other clues.
“It was kind of like Hansel and Gretel — we found some clues along the way,” said MacDonald.
COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – The desperate search for two young children on Burke Mountain in Coquitlam is over — Mounties say they’ve been found and have been air-lifted to safety.
The children were airlifted out by helicopter longline just before 10 a.m., dramatically pulling them to safety after more than 12 hours of being stranded.
COQUITLAM, BC., May 20, 2019 — Coquitlam RCMP and Search and Rescue locate two young children, age 6 and 7, after spending the night stranded on Burke Mountain in Coquitlam, BC., May 20, 2019. The children are pictured being rescued by a helicopter longline in this photo. NICK PROCAYLO / PNG
MacDonald said the children’s model behaviour — staying exactly where they had been instructed to and keeping warm — was key to their “miraculous” rescue.
However, because it was getting dark and due to the rough terrain, MacDonald said the man was unable to return to where they had fallen.
“That’s really important to stay put for search and rescue,” said MacDonald. “The kids did a great job, and the dad did a great job in telling them to stay here. That’s how we found them.”
The children were immediately reunited with their father and mother and are in stable condition after being treated for exposure.
For the family, it’s a miracle — but for hikers, MacDonald says it’s a lesson to avoid going off the trail and always plan for an emergency by leaving a trip plan and expected return time with friends or relatives.
“If the trip plan had been left here, perhaps the father could have stayed with the kids and someone else could have called us for help,” said MacDonald. “That way search and rescue could have been activated rather than having to split up the party.”
Two children from the United States have been rescued after spending the night alone in a forested area of Burke Mountain in Coquitlam, B.C.
RCMP say the six-year-old girl, seven-year-old boy and their father fell down a "steep, treacherous cliff" into a creek drainage area near Munro Lake late Sunday. Search crews said they'd been trying to get to the lake to do some fishing on the sunny afternoon, but lost the trail.
A police statement said the father made the difficult climb back up the hill, while injured, to get help. Search and rescue teams found the children just before 8:30 a.m. PT on Monday. They were rescued by long line an hour later, with their father standing by.
"This was really a miraculous rescue and a really positive outcome," Coquitlam Search and Rescue manager Ian MacDonald told reporters.
"You can imagine, all of us [searchers], we've got kids. It was really elation. This is very rugged terrain where they were lost so we were just very, very thankful that they were found alive and uninjured," he said.
MacDonald said the children were cold but alert without any serious injuries. They were taken to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., for a full checkup.
Coquitlam RCMP Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik said the children were conscious when their father made the "difficult decision" to leave them Sunday night, thinking the climb would be too dangerous for the kids.
He wrapped them in warm clothes, told them not to move and hiked a kilometre or two over dense, forested terrain until he had cellphone reception to call for help. MacDonald said search crews got the call around 7 p.m. and searched for the children all night.
MacDonald said the children didn't move while they waited for rescue. They were found just where they'd been left, not far from a backpack their father had lost.
"The kids did a great job. And the dad did a great job of telling them, you know, 'I want you to stay here,'" the search manager said.
He said the area around Munro Lake is safe so long as hikers stay on the trail, though it's common for people to get lost. He said the family was visiting from Georgia and the father wasn't familiar with the area.
Two roads, Quarry Road and Harper Street, were briefly shut down due to the search. RCMP had asked the public to stay away from the area, as well as Minnekhada Regional Park, where crews were based.