Five snowmobilers who became stranded in northern Saskatchewan amid freezing temperatures were rescued after a combined response from the RCMP and the snowmoblilers' loved ones.
RCMP in La Ronge, about 580 km north of Regina, said they received a call that the snowmobilers had become stuck in some muskeg or wetlands on Dec. 18 at about 8.30 a.m.
Despite the bitterly cold temperatures, the muskeg near Clam Lake, located approximately 70 kilometres northwest of La Ronge, remained unfrozen.
The snowmobilers were forced to spend the night in the elements as a result of getting stuck.
Although they had winter gear, some supplies and a fire, one of the snowmobilers had become wet from the muskeg and was extremely cold.
The quintet had a faint cell signal and were able to ask for help but then communication suddenly stopped.
Freezing cold conditions
The temperatures in the area had dropped somewhere in the range of -35 C to -40 C, prompting concern from the RCMP.
"It was a life-threatening situation," Cpl. Shane Marion said in a news release.
"There is real danger in temperatures like that — that kind of exposure to the elements could lead to hypothermia, which can be fatal."
Members of the snowmobilers' families, the Canadian Rangers and RCMP headed out to the area to find the lost group, towing snowmobiles to use on the trail.
They met two of the snowmobilers who were looking for help.
The pair were tired and cold but not injured and directed the searchers to the others who were still stranded on the trail.
The family members found the three remaining snowmobilers and brought them out to the trailhead with the assistance of the Canadian Rangers and the RCMP.
The snowmobilers were assessed by Emergency Medical Services and once given a clean bill of health were cleared to head home.
"We were very happy," Cpl. Marion says. "With those frigid conditions, we knew these people were in danger and time was of the essence. We thank the family and the Canadian Rangers for helping get them back to safety and warmth quickly."