A canoeist is now in hospital and is expected to make a full recovery after being rescued by Black Lake RCMP.
On Sept. 16, shortly after 4 p.m., Black Lake RCMP were advised of an SOS activation from a GPS device revealing a location in a remote waterway, approximately 25 km north-east of Black Lake.
The SOS activation included an emergency message advising responders the canoeist was injured and accompanied by a dog. Initial investigation by police helped to identify the canoeist as a 26-year-old male from Saskatoon.
Officers were able to contact the canoeist with text messages. Shortly after 5 p.m., the canoeist updated police of the nature of his serious injuries and that he was progressively getting weaker as the cold temperatures dropped. The canoeist sent another message advising he lost most of his gear. The temperature projected for the night was about -6 degrees Celsius. Officers determined the rescue had to be performed that evening.
Several local aviation companies were contacted, but none were able to travel and rescue the canoeist in the dark. The location was not accessible by land or water without several long portages.
An RCMP officer assigned to manage the search and rescue contacted the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) based out of Trenton, Ont., and was advised a helicopter (Phoenix Heli-Flight) out of Fort McMurray could assist with the rescue. The helicopter arrived in Stony Rapids at approximately 10:30 p.m., to refuel before travelling to the canoeist’s last known location.
When the helicopter arrived, it was determined the location was not suitable for a safe landing. A paramedic was lowered to the ground to stabilize the male. The helicopter hovered in position and safely extracted the injured male, his dog and the paramedic just before midnight. The helicopter landed and was met by EMS.