Around 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, 2018, the Greater Sudbury Police Service received a call regarding nine individuals who had become stranded North West of Barnett Lake, North of Capreol in Greater Sudbury. The group had encountered heavy mud, deep snow in areas, running streams, open bodies of water and thin ice making it impossible to get back to safe ground. Two of the individuals were in medical distress due to underlying medical issues.
Police and Paramedics were dispatched to the area. Three Officers began to make the trek through the deep snow using GPS. Along the way Officers set off signal flares while in contact with one of the individuals over the phone. Once the Officers made it to the pole line, they constructed a large signal fire to provide a reference point for two of the individuals who had ventured out to meet the Officers. The two individuals eventually met up with the Officers and they were escorted out of the bush.
While the three Officers were walking in on foot, the Greater Sudbury Paramedic Services Argo arrived and additional Officers were en route with snow machines in hopes of being able to access the additional seven individuals. Unfortunately, the Argo was unable to navigate the unpredictable terrain and the snow machines got stuck before getting to the rest of the group. The Officers left their snow machines and travelled the remaining distance on foot through difficult terrain. The two Officers reached the group and provided first aid to those who required it.
Due to the location of the stranded parties and the rough terrain surrounding them, the Orange Air Ambulance could not land.
Shortly after 5:00 a.m., the Greater Sudbury Police Service contacted Felix Lopes Jr. owner of Lopes Ltd. in Greater Sudbury and the Ontario distributor of the “Sherp” ATV unit. Felix arrived on scene with the “Sherp” a
very short time later and unloaded the vehicle. Felix, accompanied by one of our Officers, drove the “Sherp” through the treacherous terrain, safely breaking through the ice and driving through the deep water.
The seven stranded parties were loaded into the “Sherp” and transported out of the bush to the Paramedic Services staging area inside of a Foraco Drilling Site Dry Shed. Felix then went back in to pick up the two Officers who had been with the group.
We cannot thank Felix Lopes Jr. enough. The “Sherp” ATV allowed us to access the remaining parties and transport them out to safety where they received medical attention from Paramedics. We would also like to extend our gratitude for the use of the Foraco Drilling Site Dry Shed that allowed Paramedics to assess and treat the individuals. A special thank you to our Officers who worked tirelessly throughout the night, determined to reach the group, provide them with first aid and ensure their safety until transportation out of the bush was successful.