As one of the people evacuated by the RCMP during their recent operation to catch a runaway border jumper on the shores of Kluane Lake, I write today to let the world know I am impressed: they are cool, efficient and highly skilled.
More than that, they are kind and neighbourly and practical in dealing with local people. We can all count ourselves lucky to have such service in our own backyards and I am grateful for their presence even way out here.
I live 60 kilometres from the nearest community, and although there are some near neighbours, everyone else was away on the evening when I saw the RCMP truck pulling up the driveway. It was Corp. Kim MacKellar and I will probably never forget his message: If you have any guns in there, grab them and some gear, lock all the doors, take the keys to the vehicles parked here and get in your vehicle and leave. You’ve got two minutes and I will escort you up to the highway.
I am embarrassed to say that I thought it was a joke but when he said, “No – this is serious; there is a man who ran the border running around in the bush right here and you have to leave.”
I got it and it may have taken me two and a half minutes but no more. As I went to the car Kim said the dog and handler were on their way and he gave me the number to call for information. As I drove up the highway towards Destruction Bay, I saw bits and pieces of sharp ugly aluminum tire rims on the roadbed and then I saw the RCMP plane overhead too.
Wow – this is serious. I kept thinking of the three bears who live in the bush nearby and I had seen one earlier that day right where the car was parked. A guy running through the bush could easily bump into a rather grumpy grizzly and wish he had been caught by the RCMP instead!
At DBay I got more details as did the lodge full of travelers because the highway was blocked there and at Haines Junction. I learned later that the Silver City neighbours who also were evacuated drove partway to DBay and waited.
We all have sleeping bags in our vehicles at this time of the year and I was about to go get into mine when the roadblock came down and we got the all-clear sign. The Mounties got their man, or the Mounties and their dog got their man, very near where I live.
I was back home by 10 p.m. and noticed that Kim cleaned up all the bits of tire rim or there would have been a lot of punctured tires that night. The escape vehicle was still there waiting to be towed away and the sight tells the story of desperation: imagine a car sheared off with no sign of tire or rim just ground into the roadbed. Kim described a few details of the capture and I thanked him for being there.
But not enough – we all owe them a lot more, the whole team.