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Squamish SAR part of documentary production

Film crews will be tagging along with rescuers through August.
IMG_7717Squamish SAR
Squamish SAR volunteers will soon be on TV.

Squamish’s ever-busy search and rescue team has become the subject of a TV production.

“We have been in negotiations with [a production company] and Squamish SAR is taking part in the documentary series about search and rescue in the province,” said rescue manager B.J. Chute on July 25.

“So we have a documentary film crew that is with us for a while.”

Film crews will continue following rescuers for the month of August.

At the moment, details on the show and its release haven’t been hashed out yet, but Chute said the goal is to get enough footage for one episode of the production.

“People will see camera crews and whatnot with our SAR members and team,” he said.

The cameras started rolling on July 21.

It didn’t happen a moment too soon, as this weekend was filled with action for local rescuers.

Four calls occurred over the two sunny days.

On Saturday, July 23, crews came to the aid of a fallen climber who was significantly injured on Co-Pilot mountain.

Chute said SAR responded with advanced medical practitioners and members trained in hover-exits, as the rescue helicopter didn’t have a place to land.

Rescuers rappelled from the top of the mountain to the injured person.

North Shore Rescue also arrived to help longline the climber out, and BC Ambulance was also involved in the operation.

The climber was flown to Stawamus Elementary and then later airlifted to a Vancouver-area hospital for treatment.

About an hour after that call, rescue crews were called out to help a rider who incurred a leg fracture on the lower third of Pseudo-Tsuga.

Crews, who were also still responding to the Co-Pilot incident, split the team and used spare gear from the SAR base and some vehicles.

They found the injured rider and carried the person out on a stretcher.

Saturday wound up being a roughly 10-hour day for about 20 SAR volunteers.

On Sunday, a person slipped on the rocks on the river by the Mamquam River Forest Service Road.

She had fallen while going for a swim and had potentially fractured her arm and incurred back injuries.

Crews spotted the person and airlifted her back to the SAR base, where she was handed over to paramedics.

That same day, a hiker slipped and fell near the top of Sky Pilot mountain and dislocated his shoulder.

Crews airlifted the person to safety.

Previously, rescuers showed that humans aren’t the only ones in need of a helping hand.

Squamish Search and Rescue came to the aid of a furry friend as well.

Rescue manager B.J. Chute said that crews were recently dispatched to help out a dog that was stranded on a rock amid running water.

On July 20, a family was out 4x4ing in the Ashlu area of Upper Squamish, when their dog ran off.

"The dog jumped in the water. the owner jumped in after the dog, and then they both got stranded on a rock," said Chute.

The family then drove back out of the area to a place that had cell reception and called for help.

Crews, along with the family, drove back to find the pair.

"It took several hours to find them, because it takes an hour to drive out [and] an hour to drive back in," said Chute. "In that time, the owner had scrambled back up to the road. But the dog was still down on the rock. So we just sent a member down...He was able to just belay down, and then just bring the dog back up."

Chute said that this case serves as a reminder to keep dogs leashed when near moving water, especially this time of year when snow up in the mountains is melting and draining down into the rivers.

The water levels increase and the rapids move more swiftly as a result.

"We all love our pets and want them to run and be free," Chute said. "But, you know, we don't want them to get swept away in any moving water."

He added there is still a lot of snow in the alpine, so people with no swiftwater training should stay about 10 feet away from rapids.

In the meantime, a long stretch of warm weather forecasted for Squamish is having SAR crews readying themselves for a possible increase in call volume.

"With this warm weather, we always expect to see an uptick in calls. When the weather turns nice, people tend to come and recreate in the Squamish and the Sea to Sky as a whole," said Chute.

"We are always cautious around the weekends as to what our availability looks like, our members and so forth, but we're not any more concerned than we normally would be."

As of now, there has been a slower start to the high season compared with last year.

As of the morning of July 25, there have been 63 SAR callouts this year.

Last year, at this time, that number was 90. Back in 2020, that number was 54.

Chute said it's unclear whether last year's big uptick in calls was a fluke or a sign of things to come.

This year's summer has had an unusually wet and cold start, but that may soon change, as Environment Canada is predicting the next seven days will be sunny with highs in the low 30s.



**Please note, this story has been modified since it was first posted. SAR does not have a deal with the Knowledge Network directly, as the source originally stated, but rather with a production company that works with Knowledge Network. The Squamish Chief changed the headline and inserted a correction in brackets in the first quote to be more accurate.