Cypress Mountain to bill rescued snowboarder
Sebastien Boucher, who was rescued Tuesday after spending days alone on Cypress Mountain, is seen in this undated photo. Dec. 19, 2012. (CTV)
Published Wednesday, December 19, 2012 6:52PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 19, 2012 6:58PM PST
Cypress Mountain has confirmed it’s planning to send an estimated $10,000 bill to the snowboarder who got lost after going out-of-bounds Sunday morning.
Vancouver resident Sebastien Boucher, 33, was rescued Tuesday night after search and rescue crews spent more than 48 grueling hours desperately trying to save his life.
North Shore Rescue does not issue fines or even solicit donations from people they save, but Joffrey Koeman of the Cypress Mountain Company said an example should be set.
“This is something we haven’t done in 20 years or so but we’re getting overwhelming support for saying we’re sending him a bill,” Koeman said.
Koeman noted that apart from ignoring posted warning signs, Boucher caused an unnecessary headache for search crews by constantly changing locations.
Dozens of Cypress staff members aided in the search, some from the outset, and additional expenses were incurred along the way.
“We also couldn’t open the sky chair for a day because our crews were all busy, so you have to factor in lost revenue as well.”
Any money received from Boucher will be donated to North Shore Rescue for coordinating the search effort, Koeman said.
Rescue crews said the snowboarder was too excited about being saved to apologize for the trouble he caused Tuesday, but Boucher’s friends told CTV News that he’s humiliated by the whole experience.
“He’s embarrassed, he kept on saying sorry to us,” Francois Paiement said. “He definitely knows he made a mistake.”
Boucher’s friends, who flew in from Quebec to aid in the search, also say the snowboarder was grieving a lost loved one the day he went missing, which left him distracted.
North Shore Rescue team leader Tim Jones said he advises members not to get tangled up in debates about forcing people to pay for their rescues, but noted that fines can actually do more harm than good.
“We can’t be put in a position that we’re chasing people because they don’t want to get caught, or get found,” Jones said.
“Most people who get lost or injured it’s because they make a mistake or something happens that’s out of their control,” he added. “[Boucher], he intentionally went out of bounds. No bones about it. He’ll probably do it again.”
Boucher was rescued at around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday by crews on a military helicopter from CFB Comox, which lowered a winch roughly 400 feet down into a deep gully where he was stranded.
He was not hypothermic, but suffered minor frostbite injuries on his feet.
With reports from CTV British Columbia’s Jon Woodward and Peter Grainger