Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain – Kimberley Bulletin

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain - Kimberley Bulletin
Children rescued after spending night alone on B.C. mountain
Coquitlam search and rescue successfully located and saved two children who got stuck while hiking on Burke Mountain overnight.

Two young children were rescued Monday after spending the night alone on Burke Mountain in Coquitlam.

“The biggest immediate danger to them is, in this area they were near a creek and we flew this area [Sunday] night, trying to search it by helicopter to try and get a quicker location on them. We couldn’t see them [Sunday] night, so what we did see really worried us because there are dozens and dozens of waterfalls. Had they gone down one of these waterfalls.”

RCMP Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik says the drama began late Sunday afternoon when the boy and girl, aged 6 and 7, were heading down a trail with their father.

“All three, unfortunately, ended up falling down a steep treacherous cliff and the father was able to make the difficult climb up the cliff while injured to get help and made the difficult decision to leave the two kids on a plateau feeling that it was too dangerous for the kids to follow him up.”

Members of the Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, and North Shore search and rescue teams responded, and the children were found around 8 a.m. on Monday and long-lined to safety by a helicopter.

Ian MacDonald with @CoquitlamSAR says the kids have officially been taken off mountain. Family is visiting from Georgia. MacDonald calls the rescue miraculous. Lots of worry for the kids overnight with concern theyd get caught up in creek. @NEWS1130

Coquitlam Search and Rescue Manager Ian MacDonald say they are grateful the six-year-old girl and seven-year-old boy weren’t seriously injured.

“Well, you can imagine that all of us, you know, we’ve got kids and then it was really elation because this is very rugged terrain where they were lost, so we were just very, very thankful that they were found alive.”

READ MORE: Young man found after wandering away from Okanagan campsite, spending night in the backcountry

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.

The kids and their father were visiting from the state of Georgia and were hiking into a lake on Burke Mountain to go fishing.

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

Two children from the United States have been rescued, cold but not seriously hurt, 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. They'd been trying to get to the lake to do some fishing on the sunny afternoon, but lost the trail, search crews said.

“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.”

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.

“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.”

"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.

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.

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.

“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.”

Bryan Moffatt and Brad Rennie, who both work with Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue, were part of the team that found the kids.

The father, who suffered injuries, made his way out and found a fellow hiker with a cell phone in an area with reception. Search and Rescue crews eventually came upon a blue backpack, then shoes, which MacDonald compared to a trail of breadcrumbs that helped lead to the children.

"They were invisible, pretty much like a rock. They were hiding under a grey sweatshirt. After several calls, they actually responded and came out of the sweatshirt and gave us the A-OK," said Rennie, whose group spotted the children from up the hill.

"Very," said Moffatt, whose own two kids are of a similar age. "They were quite smiley."

A ground and air search was underway near Minnekhada Regional Park Monday after two children that were hiking with their father were injured on Sunday and spent a cold night stuck on a plateau.

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.

Search and rescue teams from Coquitlam, North Vancouver, and Maple Ridge were all involved. A police dog, drone, and helicopter were also involved in the search.

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. Crews said the family was visiting from the state of Georgia and the father wasn't familiar with the area.