The preparedness of two snowmobilers lost on Thynne Mountain earlier this month helped with their speedy rescue, say members of the Merritt-based groups that helped the men find their way out.

RCMP received the call that the two male snowmobilers had activated their satellite emergency locator to indicate they required assistance around 3:30 a.m. on March 10. RCMP then contacted Nicola Valley Search and Rescue (NVSAR), which sent seven members with all their rescue equipment, not knowing what condition the young men would be in when they were located. With the help of snowmobilers from the Merritt Snowmobile Club, the rescuers found the men cold and hungry but otherwise okay around 6 a.m. near Brookmere.

Lynne Broekhuizen, the NVSAR manager on duty that night, commended the men, who were from out of town, on doing everything right to make their discovery a straightforward one with no unpleasant surprises.

“These young men stayed put, which was the number 1 thing. That’s so important,” she said. “They were dressed appropriately, they had survival equipment, they had blankets and they had fire-making materials with them. They were able to get a fire going and waited for assistance at daylight. They actually helped us rescue them.”

Broekhuizen added that it could’ve gone a lot worse than it did.

“They didn’t end up running around in the dark and falling in a ravine,” Broekhuizen said. “All kinds of things can happen if people panic. The young men did absolutely everything you should do when you get lost. If you’re going to go out in the woods, you’re going to eventually get yourself turned around or misplaced or lost, and it’s how you handle yourself that determines the success of our searches.”

Merritt Snowmobile Club President Adam McDonald echoed Broekhuizen’s sentiment about the men’s preparedness.

“They had GPS coordinates to where they were, so it was a pretty straightforward discovery,” McDonald said. “It took longer to ride in to where they were than it did to find them. They were happy and healthy, just a little cold and hungry.”

The men and their families were so relieved about the rescue that they donated $1,400 to the Merritt Snowmobile Club and made another donation of an unknown amount to NVSAR which Broekhuizen said will be used toward the group’s quick response vehicle. McDonald said that was a welcome bonus on a good deed.

“It was well worth the time to do it,” McDonald said.

Broekhuizen said NVSAR calls members of the snowmobile club to assist with some rescues for their expertise on mountain trails and their more mountain-friendly vehicles.

“It’s very, very easy to get yourself turned around in that area,” Broekhuizen said. “Everything’s white and it all looks the same and one hill blends into another. These guys were well-prepared for the unexpected, and that’s the key – when you go out there, you’re going to get into the unexpected.”