Police are providing few details about the rescue of a 37-year-old woman who was stranded for days in a small, open boat on Lake Laberge.
The RCMP received the call at 1 p.m. Monday, and officers who did the rescue returned to the office by 8 p.m., said Sgt. Don Rogers from the Whitehorse detachment. It is unclear how long the rescue actually took.
But when the call was received, a single officer was sent out, said Rogers.
He patrolled by car and on foot.
“It’s a big lake and it’s not a question of just sending the boat out,” said Rogers. “It’s a question of being prepared to be out there properly. Which means putting a boat in service, ensuring that the members who are properly trained operators are available and properly outfitted for whatever circumstances they might come into.
“It’s not just a question of throwing a boat in water. It’s got to be done safely and it’s got to be planned and then we got to make sure we’re going to the right location because if you don’t go to the right location then you’re searching. And that takes time.”
After numerous attempts, the constable was finally able to pinpoint the location.
He tried several ways of reaching the water, said Rogers, eventually taking Policeman’s Point and walking the shoreline.
About 16 kilometres later, he spotted the boat near Shallow Bay.
Further downstream, the river current created an ice pack that trapped the woman’s boat. It was here, with a jet boat, that two RCMP officers were finally able to rescue the woman.
The woman was stranded on the small boat for at least two days, said Rogers. “It may have been three, we’re not sure, but we can confirm it was two days for sure.”
With the exception of warm clothing, the woman was not equipped to be in the open, and the boat had no motor or life jackets, according to an RCMP press release.
The woman was taken to Whitehorse General Hospital and, a short time later, released.