Helicopter called in to rescue stranded rafters

Poor planning forced the Olds RCMP to bring in a helicopter to rescue three people who were stranded on the Little Red Deer River on Sunday.

Poor planning forced the Olds RCMP to bring in a helicopter to rescue three people who were stranded on the Little Red Deer River on Sunday.

Around 10:30 p.m. the Olds RCMP received a report of three people who were about three hours late from a meeting point on the Little Red Deer River.

The trio — a man and two women from Olds — launched their boat onto the river at 5:30 p.m. near the intersection of Twp 766 and Range Road 32.

They had intended to float to the Red Lodge camping area and estimated it would take about two hours.

A waiting relative grew concerned when the party was over due by three hours.

Olds Search and Rescue Society were called to assist with efforts to find the trio. The society’s helicopter was in use so they requested help from the Calgary Police Service Hawks 2 helicopter.

The trio were found at 1:50 a.m. A woman in her fifties was treated by EMS for mild hypothermia. The other two were not injured.

Olds RCMP Staff Sgt. Joe Sangster said it was poor planning on the part of the trio. He said they totally misjudged the time it would take to bring them down the river to their extraction point.

“Every time it gets dark, everything changes,” said Sangster. “The water was so shallow so they had to walk and drag boats. When it gets dark, the temperature drops down. They were wet.”

Sangster said the public is reminded to plan and prepare appropriately for excursions.

“And know where you are going,” he said. “They had 8.5 km they had to travel. Educate yourself before you go out. In a very simple situation like that it could have turned bad. One of the individuals was very, very cold. We were very fortunate to get these folks. We had wonderful assistance from the Calgary Police Services. They were key in locating these people.”

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