Terrace Search and Rescue (SAR) president Dwayne Sheppard arrives back on shore from a water-rescue training scenario in 2018. (Brittany Gervais photo)

‘Lucky to be alive’: Jet skier rescued after running out of fuel on northern B.C. river

A helicopter and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were involved in the rescue

Terrace Search and Rescue (SAR) coordinated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to rescue a man lost and out of fuel on the Skeena River on the evening of June 7.

“He’s lucky to be alive,” said Dave Jephson, vice president of Terrace Search and Rescue.

According to Terrace SAR, the subject and a friend were riding jet skis on the river. At some point, the friend turned back to Terrace due to low fuel. There, the subject’s friend notified authorities that there was an individual on a jet ski in some sort of distress, somewhere on the Skeena River between Terrace and Prince Rupert.

At 8:45 p.m., the RCMP contacted Terrace SAR, who used a helicopter to quickly respond.

The subject’s father posted on Facebook asking for anyone with a boat to help look for his son who was lost on the river and out of fuel on a jet ski. The post was shared over 700 times and had over 150 comments, which made it difficult for authorities to know what information was accurate and reliable.

“RCMP did a great job trying to piece together a chaotic situation, you can’t run searches on Facebook,” said Jephson.

RCMP were able to get a ping on a cellphone approximately 35 kilometres west of Terrace, a distance which Jephson described as “a little bit extreme.”

The helicopter landed at the GPS coordinates provided by the RCMP – the subject was found there shortly after 10:00 p.m. alive but very cold, out of fuel and needing assistance.

“The severity of the issue, which is being lost I think is that nobody knew where he was, nobody knew where he was going, very fortunate that he did have a life jacket on, so that’s one positive side of things,” said Jephson. He also noted that the subject stayed with the jet ski.

After Terrace SAR made contact with the subject, some fishermen that were nearby came over to the scene. The subject chose to go with the fishermen, who took him to Exchamsiks boat launch where he met the RCMP. The search and rescue crew returned to Terrace.

READ MORE: B.C. sees spike in search and rescue calls ahead of COVID-19 restrictions easing


@BenBogstie
ben.bogstie@terracestandard.com

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