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Tuesday April 24th, 2012  
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   Volume 82 - Issue 16 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: news@passherald.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
"It's unfortunate but necessary that we turn to the courts to protect this extraordinary landscape."
- Gordon Petersen  
   
   

 

 
Hundreds of local and area residents volunteered in the search for a Fort Macleod couple who were reported missing and later found at a cabin in the remote area of Bull River near Fernie last Tuesday, April 17th.
Jacob and Anja Oosterwijk were reported missing on Saturday, April 14th after they departed on a day trip from Fort Macleod to Fernie and were not heard from by 6 p.m., when they were expected to return home.
RCMP, Search and Rescue crews and countless volunteers from Fort Macleod, Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass, Sparwood and Fernie searched diligently over a vast area spanning from as far north as Turner Valley to the U.S. border in the south, out to the Fernie area in the west for a period of three days before Elk Valley RCMP were notified of a radio transmission which had been received from a cabin in the remote area of the Bull River.
After spending the day in Fernie, the Oosterwijks had decided to travel some back roads before heading home.
Their Honda CRV became stuck in the snow and they were forced to trudge 30 kilometres along the logging road through knee-deep snow for 10 hours until they found the cabin at Texas Ranch in Sulphur Creek, smashed the window and broke in.
The couple spent a day and a half making attempts to be located, including spelling out SOS with scarves in the snow, before locating a radio which they used to call for help over a logging bandwidth.
 

The recipient of the call passed the information along to RCMP and a helicopter manned by Kim Hyllestad of Sparwood-based Hy-Ridge Helicopters was deployed to locate the couple.
Hyllestad located the couple shortly after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17th and they were taken to hospital in Fernie for assessment before returning home to hundreds of friends and family that evening after their vehicle was located by a police dog.
RCMP Inspector Joe McGeough said it is hard to say exactly how many volunteers assisted in the search for the Oosterwijks but noted that more than 300 people came out to the Alliance Church in Fort Macleod on the evening of Monday, April 16th to lend a hand.
Insp. McGeough commended the work of Pincher Creek Search and Rescue in organizing volunteers (including area residents and RCMP detachments), who worked diligently to search for the couple, adding that high school students in Fort Macleod helped out by spreading the word across online social media.
“The outpouring of volunteers and help from so many communities on both sides was unbelievable,” said Insp. McGeough.
“When you have everyone working so hard in all directions, it’s really something.”
Insp. McGeough, on behalf of RCMP, extended sincere thanks to everyone who was involved in the search, allowing the couple to return home safely to their seven children.
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   Volume 82 - Issue 16 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: news@passherald.ca   $1.00   
 
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