A hiker spent the night injured on Mount Joffre with head, back and wrist injuries from a bad fall on Sunday (Sept. 9), as rescue crews were unable to remove him due to weather conditions.
Police received a call from a man on Sunday at 6:36 p.m., who reported one member of his six-person group was injured and unable to move, said Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair of the Whistler RCMP.
The group had stayed at the Keith Flavelle Hut the previous night, then headed out at 4:30 a.m. in two separate hiking parties. One group of four headed up Mount Matier while the other two, a boyfriend and girlfriend, went towards Joffre.
When the Matier group returned to the hut expecting the couple to already be there, they began searching for the duo. Through binoculars, the group spotted the woman, who signalled that the man was injured and needed help.
Pemberton Search and Rescue (PSAR) “was in the air” less than an hour after the call came in, said LeClair, but couldn’t reach the area by helicopter due to the weather. A PSAR team member was able to reach the hikers on foot and spent the night with them.
“He slipped while descending the mountain and had a nasty fall and injured himself,” said LeClair.
On Monday morning (Sept. 10), PSAR was able to fly two helicopters into position, with the first one extricating the injured man and the second ready to transport him to the Whistler Health Care Centre at 9:30 a.m., said LeClair.
Search for hikers ongoing
Now more than two years after Jonathan Jette and Rachel Bagnall went missing near Pemberton, search efforts are continuing but revealing no clues about the couple’s whereabouts.
In early September 2010, the Vancouver residents went hiking in the area around the Cassiope and Saxifrage peaks, but never returned. Their vehicle was found on the Spetch Creek Forest Service Road on the initial search, but there’s been no other sign of the two in subsequent scans of the area.
LeClair said recent RCMP inquiries with people near the region have returned no new information.
“There are a number of people in the community that hike and hunt in the area and are aware of the situation,” he said. “They are always on the lookout for anything that would indicate a human presence.”
According to the “Jonathan Jette and Rachel Bagnall” Facebook group dedicated to finding the couple, members of Jette’s family were out searching in the area again earlier this month.
LeClair said the family requested police consult with author Matt Gunn, who wrote a book about the area that the couple was using on their trip.
Gunn’s theory was that the duo was likely in the Valentine Lake area and got lost in Peq Creek’s drainage, said LeClair. Though that area has been searched in the past, LeClair said it was something police would do again.
“It is still our intention to go back into that area,” he said. “At this point, our best bet is to find their equipment.”
Jette, originally from Quebec, would be 36 years old today while Bagnall would be 27. Jette’s mother expressed frustration and sadness over the lack of evidence when contacted by The Question earlier this year.
“They just vanished, and everyone knows that is impossible; they have to be somewhere and we have to know where,” Lise Grenier said on April 24.
“I don’t want them to be forgotten and become an unsolved, mysterious disappearance.”
Doss-Cody named Chief Officer
Deborah Doss-Cody, a 24-year member of the Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police Service, has been named Chief Officer, the police board announced last month.
Doss-Cody, who is from Xaxli’p, has been with the service since its formation in 1988. She will manage operations out of the service’s Lillooet office, said a press release. Doss-Cody fills the role previously filled by Patty Cook.
The Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police Service serves 10 St’at’imc communities, with offices in Mount Currie and Lillooet.
— with files from Tanya Foubert