Rescuers say they are "extremely elated" after a 14-year-old boy who went missing while snowboarding at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops, B.C. Sunday afternoon was found safe Monday.
"It was a very happy outcome," said Alan Hobler with Kamloops Search and Rescue. "We were all extremely elated."
The teenager, Carson Hadwin, had taken a shuttle to the resort Sunday morning. He used the chairlift to get up the mountain during the day, but wasn't on the return shuttle in the afternoon.
That's when his family reported him missing.
Hobler said Hadwin had got disoriented and ended up travelling outside of the ski area boundaries and in the wrong direction.
Hadwin's father Bruce said his son had tried to call him and then tried to reach out for help via 911, but his cellphone was not working due to the Bell cellular network being down. Many British Columbians experienced cellphone service disruption this weekend after a landslide damaged a fibre cable.
In the meantime, a coordinated search effort got underway with 20 search and rescue members as well as a drone team.
As night began to fall, Hadwin, who dressed in a snow jacket and pants, slept on the snow with his jacket on top of him.
"Windchill up at the top of the mountain was –33 C last night," said Hobler. "[Hadwin] went missing around 11 a.m. yesterday, and wasn't prepared to be out overnight at all."
In the meantime, Carson's father Bruce, waiting at the command centre for any word about his son, "didn't sleep a wink."
"[It was] horrible," he recalled.
Finally on Monday, rescuers spotted Hadwin's tracks from a search and rescue plane. Ground crews on snowmobiles picked up the tracks and eventually located him.
"[He was] obviously very cold, probably a little bit in shock from his ordeal, but I imagine he's going to be just fine," Hobler said, adding Hadwin had "leapt" out of the helicopter when they brought him back to the village.
Bruce Hadwin said the relief at finding his teenage son safe and sound was intense.
"I was describing to my friends that it was the best worst day of my life," he said.
Hadwin said the search and rescue efforts were "just phenomenal."
"Tons of people took the day off work, came up and looked down runs [at Sun Peaks]," he said.
"It seemed like all of Kelowna and Vernon ... everybody was, you know, helping out in the search and rescue, and the ski patrol, the RCMP, everybody just came together ... We couldn't have done it without them."
Hobler said his team is grateful for such a happy ending.
"We've had outcomes that are tragic, and it's just so nice to have one that worked out this well."