Cache Creek man spends chilly nights lost in woods

JASON HEWLETT / Kamloops Daily News
November 13, 2011 01:00 AM

A hunter was treated for hypothermia at Royal Inland Hospital after spending two cold nights in the bush near Cache Creek.

But police and search and rescue volunteers say the weekend could have ended a lot worse for the Cache Creek resident given the snow and freezing temperatures.

"He's very lucky it was just hypothermia," Alan Hobler, search master for Kamloops Search and Rescue said Sunday.

Chris Brunskill, 32, disappeared in the area of Arrowstone Creek near Lopez Mountain on Friday. He was hunting with a friend at the time.

Brunskill and his companion became separated. When the friend returned to the pickup and Brunskill didn't show, he organized a search of his own. Hobler said search and rescue was dispatched when Brunskill wasn't back the following day.

Search crews took to the woods on Saturday. Mike Ritcey of Kamloops Search and Rescue said the effort included civilian and RCMP dog teams.

In the meantime, Brunskill unsuccessfully tried to find his way out. Ashcroft RCMP Sgt. Michel Grondin said Brunskill opted to build a fire late Saturday and stay with it until help came.

Search crews built a fire of their own to ward off the cold Saturday night. Hobler said a volunteer was near the fire when she heard a rifle shot at 3:30 a.m. Sunday coming from the direction Brunskill was last seen.

A second shot at 6:30 a.m. helped crews narrow their search. Brunskill was spotted by an RCMP helicopter a half-hour hike from a forestry cut block. Grondin said Brunskill was about two kilometres away from his vehicle.

He was taken directly from the bush to RIH for treatment, said Grondin.

Brunskill didn't intend to be out in the cold for two nights and was dressed in jogging pants and a light jacket, said Hobler. Nor was he armed with a GPS and survival gear. That could have been a costly mistake.

"No matter how far you're going, be prepared," said Hobler.

© Copyright 2015 Kamloops Daily News

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