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Missing snowmobilers found safe in Labrador

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  • Missing snowmobilers found safe in Labrador

    Missing snowmobilers found 'safe and sound' after Labrador storm
    Last Updated Tue, 17 Jan 2006 15:46:27 EST
    CBC News
    A grueling air and ground search for eight snowmobilers who had been missing for four days in a fierce blizzard in Labrador ended when they were found safe.

    The two groups of snowmobilers disappeared Friday while travelling a 160-kilometre route between Rigolet and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, but a blizzard prevented RCMP and other rescuers from launching a search until Tuesday morning.

    A weekend blizzard dumped more than 100 centimetres of snow on Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L.
    An RCMP spokesperson said rescuers on snowmobile found one man walking on a trail about 40 kilometres from Rigolet late Tuesday afternoon.

    The man said the rest of the snowmobilers were sheltering in one of a series of cabins along the route.

    He had set out for Rigolet by snowmobile, but had mechanical problems, said Cpl. Paul MacDougall, of the RCMP detachment in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

    MacDougall said the man was lucky to be found before dark.

    "He had broken down and had gone for help," MacDougall said. "It is fortunate that our search team came across him first."

    Snowmobilers in 'good spirits,' Mountie says

    The man steered police to a cabin, where an RCMP helicopter was able to land there.

    "We discovered everybody safe and sound inside the cabin," MacDougall said.

    "They did have a fire on and everybody was warm, and there's no shortage of water when there's five feet of snow. They had food and water and warmth ... and were in good spirits, at least as much as could be expected."

    Two young girls and a woman were taken by helicopter to the village of Rigolet, where seven of the eight snowmobilers live.

    Deep snow hampered search

    Earlier, Labrador police said high winds and deep snow were hindering rescue crews in their search for the snowmobilers, including a six-year-old girl who was recently treated for pneumonia.

    They hadn't been seen since they were spotted Friday about 80 kilometres southwest of Rigolet and halfway to Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

    Search-and-rescue crews weren't able to set out until Tuesday because of a weekend blizzard that dumped the heaviest snowfall in more than 20 years – about 150 centimetres in some areas.

    An RCMP airplane left the military base at Happy Valley-Goose Bay in the morning, while seven searchers on snowmobiles left Rigolet a short time later.

    They were racing against time as forecasters lifted blizzard warnings for much of the region, but warned that temperatures were plummeting. Environment Canada said it would feel like –27 C overnight once the wind was factored in.

    MacDougall had said 1½-metre-deep snow slowed the searchers on snowmobile to a crawl, while high winds buffeted the plane.

    One of the searchers said before setting out on snowmobile that he hadn't seen such conditions in decades.

    "This is the most snow I've seen since I was a young boy," Martin Shiwak said.

    Storm stranded truckers, motorists

    The snowfall in the region started on Saturday with 30 cm, followed by 60 cm on Sunday.

    Schools, businesses and roads were closed.

    The Trans-Labrador Highway was blocked, and motorists were advised not to try the trip between Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Labrador City.

    Some people ignored advisories, forcing police and rescue workers to battle the storm to find three stranded transport truck drivers and a couple.

    One of the truckers, Wayne Smith, said he encountered some of the worst conditions he has seen in 31 years on the job.

  • #2
    5 FEET OF SNOW!! o what id give for that right now. glad to hear they're safe and sound as the article said