Mountain rescue under way near Parksville

A stranded hiker on a ledge above Cameron Lake on Vancouver Island has local search and rescue teams working to save him.

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue rope team spent a long, cold, wet night clinging to a ledge above Cameron Lake Sunday as they attempted to rescue a stranded climber on Wesley Ridge.

Search manager Gordon Yelland said ASAR received a call to scramble at 7:15 p.m. after a lone hiker got stranded and called for help.

“He got hiking up there with a couple of his dogs and got into an area he couldn’t get off of, but he had his cell phone with him, so he called for help,” Yelland said. “We were able to get out there and assess the situation and get a team of three rope experts into a helicopter and drop them down from above to try to get down to him and find a route down.”

Meanwhile, he said, a second team of five rescue technicians began hiking up the mountain to find his route from below.

However, it wasn’t long before darkness fell, meaning the rope team had to hunker down for a long, cold, wet night.

“To keep them as safe as possible, we elected to have them stay put overnight. They spent the night in a rain storm on a cliff ledge,” Yelland said. “They’re cold and wet and quite tired.”

The hiker meanwhile, continued to text to his wife at home and to the police until about 3 a.m., when rescuers believe his batteries went dead. However, Yelland said he was able to start a fire and was in relatively good spirits.

At first light Monday morning, another team began scaling the ridge from the Horne Lake side in an attempt to go over the top and see if there was a possibility of reaching the stranded team and the subject.

As of Monday at noon, the rescue effort was continuing.

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