Two groups rescued from Stuartburn swamps

Fourteen people, including two young children, had to be rescued April 15 after getting lost in the bush while riding ATVs in southeastern Manitoba.

A group of ATV riders were rescued Sunday after becoming lost in the RM of Stuartburn. RCMP say a teenager and two children contacted authorities shortly before 6 p.m. when they couldn’t find their way out of some bush. The STARS helicopter was dispatched to their location after GPS coordinates were obtained through cell phone.

RCMP spent six hours trying to locate the group when they got lost in the RM of Stuartburn and a cell phone caller reported they were lost and some people were thought to be suffering from hypothermia.

The group of 11 people were eventually located using GPS coordinates obtained through cell phone triangulation, according to RCMP.

The STARS air ambulance helicopter was sent and an RCMP member was lowered to the group. Among them was a “very cold” teenager and two children, aged 5 and 6. Those three were airlifted to another location where emergency crews were waiting. The officer lowed into the bush escorted the remaining members of the group out to safety.

However, while that was happening, three people mounted a ground search and rescue operation without realizing the RCMP had already reached the group. The second group got hung up in a swampy area on the way out and due to darkness, air support was no longer available. An RCMP floating off-road vehicle, called an Argo, was used to track the group down.

In all, from both rescue events, four people (the two children, one teenager and one adult) were transported to hospital for treatment. Others were examined on scene and released.

RCMP are stressing the importance of being properly prepared and equipped when traveling in remote regions.

“Folks were out with children who are very young in age, ill-prepared. No one had a GPS. This raises the hazard levels and can have some devastating circumstances,” said RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Line Karpish.

Civilians should never attempt search and rescue activities without notifying the RCMP of jurisdiction, she added.

“No one should be venturing out there. These are the types of things that we have members that train and exercise for,” she said. “They’re appropriately trained to rescue people.”


RCMP used an Argo to rescue several people in the RM of Stuartburn after a group of ATV riders became lost on Sunday, April 15.


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