Cst. Clay Wurzinger and Boomer credited with finding Irene Paquet.  

Rescue due to prompt actions

The miraculous story of a woman’s six-day ordeal in the woods near Copper Canyon

The miraculous story of a woman’s six-day ordeal in the woods near Copper Canyon keeps getting more miraculous as reports come in about how she was found and rescued.

Irene Paquet was reported missing July 30. She had last been seen the day before at Cowichan Neighbourhood House, where she volunteers.

Cowichan Neighbourhood House beamed out a message asking people to be on the lookout for her, and media outlets posted an RCMP notice about Paquet on their print and social media pages.

On the afternoon of Aug. 4 she was found and airlifted to Nanaimo General Hospital for treatment.

“It’s a miracle. Just an amazing miracle,” Paquet’s daughter Celeste said. “She was out there for six complete days, five nights, and it’s just amazing. A miracle that she survived out there for that long.”

After her rescue Paquet reported that her mother was “disoriented and very weak and very dehydrated but she’s communicating with us and shockingly better than anticipated.”

That she survived is due to a string of right decisions and prompt actions once the community became aware that Paquet was missing.

Cowichan Valley Neighbourhood house got over 32,000 hits on its facebook page after its concerns about Paquet were posted spokeswoman Arlene Robinson said. “We’re so relieved, so thankful.”

One of the people who picked up on the notice was Chad Bergman of Lake Cowichan, who spotted Paquet’s Hyundiai Accent where it had gone off the road. He took a picture and sent it to CNH along with a query asking if it was hers.

It was, and the information was reported. Ladysmith Search and Rescue (LS&R) began looking for Paquet. Shauneen Nichols, search manager for LS&R said in cases like this, the missing person is not likely to be very far from their vehicle.

Cowichan Search and Rescue, the RCMP (including its K-9 unit) and aircraft also joined in the search, that ultimately found Paquet.

But it all began with an alert response by Bergman. ““The fact that that young man had the presence of mind to not only stop, check that vehicle out, take pictures and then turn right around and report that… His recollection was excellent and he got us to that starting point,” Nichols said.

With files from James Goldie, Black Press