Stranded man chops down power poles to get rescued
System operator Colin Nicholson monitors the Grid Control Centre in Regina, Sask., on Tuesday, September 18, 2007. (Troy Fleece / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, June 1, 2010 8:27PM EDT
REGINA - SaskPower spokesman James Parker isn't sure what survival equipment the stranded man had with him in northern Saskatchewan last week -- except, of course, for his axe.
The unidentified B.C. man, who Parker says was not a resident of the area around Wollaston Lake, used that axe to chop down four power poles.
That certainly brought attention to his plight last Thursday, but it also deprived about 1,000 people of electricity.
It wasn't warm in northern Saskatchewan last week -- a factor for both the stranded outdoorsman and the powerless residents. Temperatures dipped below freezing and there was snow in some areas. Wollaston Lake is more than 600 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.
"When power is disrupted for an hour it's an inconvenience, but it's a major inconvenience when it's disrupted for more than a day," said Parker.
The man had been stranded for a good part of the week before he resorted to the pole-cutting, said Parker, and that led to his rescue when crews were dispatched to see why the power was out.
"We have to charter a helicopter to fly the line to find out what the issue is and that's what we did on Friday. We discovered the four poles that were toppled and discovered him as well."
Power was restored Friday evening.
The man had been out on the lake in a boat when bad weather struck. His rather dire circumstances may save him from the financial consequences of his unorthodox rescue signal -- which could cost the utility upwards of $100,000 to repair.
"In normal situations we would try to recoup some of our costs ... but this is not a normal situation," said Parker.
"We're still assessing it, but let's just say this: we're keeping in mind the circumstances as we ponder our next steps. This fellow was obviously in a desperate situation and felt he had to do this."