Out-of-bounds snowboarder in B.C. will be billed for rescue
Published Wednesday, December 19, 2012 9:13AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 19, 2012 10:14PM EST
A snowboarder who went out of bounds on British Columbia’s Cypress Mountain and spent two nights lost in heavy snow will have to foot the bill for the search-and-rescue operation, officials said Wednesday.
Sebastien Boucher, 33, got lost in the backcountry on Sunday and was finally spotted Tuesday evening on a dark, snowy mountainside, thanks to infrared technology.
Due to the difficult terrain of the area, it wasn't possible to immediately airlift Boucher back to safety.
Eventually, with the help of a military Cormorant helicopter from 442 Squadron in Comox, B.C., Boucher was winched off the mountain and flown to nearby Vancouver, where he was reported to be in stable condition with no injuries -- despite his exposure to the elements for more than 48 hours.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Cypress Mountain said the resort will be sending a bill to Boucher “to recover costs and donate the funds to the North Shore Search and Rescue.”
“We find nothing heroic about Mr. Boucher’s reckless adventure, especially after impacting so many people over the past two days,” the statement said.
The total cost of rescuing Boucher is expected to exceed $10,000.
Rescuers had been blunt in their assessment of the situation earlier Tuesday, saying Boucher would have passed fences and warning signs in order to go out-of-bounds and was the "maker of his own demise."
North Shore Rescue team leader Tim Jones said Boucher's actions not only put his own life in danger, but rescuers as well. He said crews are frustrated that skiers and snowboarders often fail to heed warnings about the risks of heading into the backcountry, particularly after heavy snowfall, when avalanche conditions are heightened.
Boucher's family had flown in from Ottawa on Tuesday and spent an emotional day awaiting news of his fate.
"Those guys, those rescue people, thank God. They were angels. They were the best in the world," his mother Micheline Simoneau told CTV News.
Search-and-rescue crew members had begun to fear the worst after the sun went down Monday night, meaning Boucher was spending a second straight night in the wilderness. However, a glimmer of hope emerged around 4 p.m. local time Tuesday when searchers found fresh tracks in the snow, which eventually led them to Boucher.
With files from CTV British Columbia