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Sunshine Coast SAR rescues woman in Roberts Creek

Multi-agency effort leads to successful rope rescue in steep terrain

A rope system was used to lift a Sunshine Coast woman out of a steep embankment early Thursday morning. 

The rope rescue operation in Malcolm Creek involved an 11-member team from Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue (SAR) and a similar number from Roberts Creek Volunteer Fire Department (RCVFD).

Alec Tebbutt said SAR was paged by RCMP at approximately 1:30 a.m. on June 6 for a missing woman in the Malcolm Creek area. 

Responders immediately spotted the woman and determined she had slipped down the steep embankment beside the creek, said Tebbutt.

While SAR did not know how long the woman had been down there, Tebbutt said it was obvious she had been down there for some length of time and was pretty cold.

 Blankets and water were lowered to the woman, who was responsive and able to move when crews found her, but it was impossible to climb back up out of the embankment.

It was then decided that a rope crew would be sent down to extricate the woman. 

A stretcher was prepared, and the team used a two-rope system where one member was lowered down to the woman with the stretcher, then they were both pulled up. 

Tebbutt said many of the embankments on the Coast are steep and have a lot of debris, which adds difficulty to their response. “We had to be quite careful not to be knocking over things that could slide down, but it worked very well,” he said, adding that firefighters on-scene assisted with hauling on the ropes to bring the woman up.

The rescue operation took multiple hours and the response itself was a good deal longer due to the equipment utilized, which needs to be carefully cleaned and checked after use. 

“It was a good team effort,” he added.

The woman was successfully raised out of the creekside, and while SAR does not handle the medical side of the response, they said she had no obvious, serious injuries at the time before

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) took her to the hospital.

Reflecting on the successful operation, Tebbutt said it was a great multi-agency collaboration between Sunshine Coast SAR, RCMP, RCVFD and BCEHS.

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.