Thoughts of girlfriend helped B.C. man stay positive while waiting for rescue from 'precarious' gully

A geology worker who had to be airlifted out of a steep gully in B.C.'s far northwest says talking with co-workers about his girlfriend helped him stay calm during a stressful situation.

Andrew Fraser of Vancouver was conducting rock assessments about 350 kilometres north of Terrace on Aug. 10 when he slipped and fell into a gully, breaking his ankle in the process.

Finding he was unable to stand, Fraser radioed for help and then prepared to spend the night alone.

"I wasn't really sure when I was going to be able to get rescued, so I was essentially just preparing for the worst," he said. "I was super nervous."

Though they weren't able to get to him, Fraser's co-workers were able to keep him distracted by making small talk over the radio system.

"[They were] asking questions about my girlfriend," Fraser said. "That was basically what was able to keep me going, was just positive thoughts about her and our future."

In the end, Fraser didn't have to spend the night in the gully, as helicopter crews from Terrace Search and Rescue were able to use a longline from a helicopter to get down to him, then airlift him to hospital in Prince Rupert.

Terrace Search and Rescue Manager Dave Jephson said it was fortunate his team was able to get to Fraser by helicopter, as the gully would have been difficult to traverse with his broken ankle.

"There's no way his crews could get to him," Jephson said. "[He was] in the middle of a mountain face in a gorge."

Fraser is now recovering with what he says is a new perspective on life.

"It really opened my eyes on how everybody can look out for each other," he said.

Terrace Search and Rescue

With interviews and reporting by Pamela McCall and Matt Allen for CBC Daybreak North.

More stories from CBC British Columbia North

Subscribe to CBC Daybreak North in your favourite podcast app, and connect with CBC Northern British Columbia on FacebookTwitter and Instagram