Should skiers be liable for out-of-bounds rescues?
Published Friday, February 3, 2012 6:28PM PST
Volunteer searchers who rescue skiers who deliberately go out-of-bounds say they shouldn't be held financially liable, despite repeated outcries from the public that offenders should be.
Lara wrote CTV's Steele on Your Side to ask who pays to rescue skiers and hikers who deliberately go into the backcountry.
"It bothers me that our volunteer rescue persons keep being asked to save the lives of people who clearly have no regard for their lives, let alone those who will recue them," she said.
Lara said the people who make the choice to go outside of the regular boundaries should be held financially accountable.
The B.C. government absorbs the cost for helicopter search time, rescue equipment and travel expenses for search teams.
Whenever possible, RCMP will help out by using its own helicopters for aerial rescues. Ski resorts often lend staff or equipment if the search is on a ski hill.
Tim Jones of North Shore Rescue (NSR) told Steele on Your Side the cost of these searches can be huge and involve dozens of police personnel, as well as volunteer rescuers.
The 12-day search for hiker Tyler Wright in 2010 cost more than $200,000 for aerial searches alone.
North Shore Rescue has a policy not to support people being fined or held liable for searches.
Jones believes that some people who find themselves trapped may not call for help because they're too worried about the cost – and that could put them into situations that are even more dangerous to avoid the huge bills.
"To put it plainly, people's lives are more important," Jones said.
NSR performs approximately 90 search and rescue operations each year.
Every Friday Lynda Steele dips into the viewer mailbag and answers a handful of questions. Watch tonight for more, including more about whether you can opt out of BC Hydro's smart meter program…
Have your say: Should out-of-bounds skiers be held liable for their rescue?