By Clare Ogilvie
A youth from California fell to his death in a rugged hiking area this weekend after slipping off a tricky trail.
The death prompted Pemberton Search and Rescue to warn people headed out into the elements to be prepared.
“You need to wear the appropriate footwear, you need to wear the appropriate clothing, you need to have survival gear with you,” said SAR manager Dave Steers.
Abram Jones, 19, of San Diego was with two friends near the Highline Forest Service Road in the Connell Creek area when the accident happened at around 5:20 p.m. on Sunday. The area is described as halfway between D’Arcy and Lillooet.
“Where (Jones) was, was extremely steep with little canyons, lots of loose debris, mud, and snow,” said Steers.
“(It was) unstable. It certainly wasn’t an area where a lot of people go hiking. The footing was not very good.”
Jones fell about 15 metres (50 feet) and was unresponsive to calls from his friends, who then made their way down to Jones.
When the friends reached Jones, who was wearing worn running shoes, they found he had suffered severe head and body trauma, though he was still breathing and had a weak pulse.
They placed him in recovery position – on his side so his airways would remain clear – and went to get help as fast as they could.
By the time search and rescue volunteers and medical help had hiked in to the accident Jones had succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The difficult decision was made to leave Jones in place until today (Monday) as darkness and treacherous terrain made nighttime extraction difficult and dangerous.
“Based on weather, the terrain, the rock falls that were going off we made the decision not to try and get him out last night,” said Steers.
“It would have been an incredibly difficult technical rescue in the dark over nasty terrain.”
Jones was taken out by helicopter to D’Arcy where Emergency Medical personnel took over.
A coroner did attend the accident scene before Jones was extracted. The youth had been staying in the Pemberton area for a few months with friends to enjoy skiing and other recreational pursuits. While not a professional hiker he had hiked recreationally and was with a person who knew the area, said Pemberton RCMP Crpl. Paul Vadik.
Jones parents were on their way up from their California home yesterday.