Canadian Ranger SAR Ends in Success for Christmas Shopper

Canadian Rangers

THUNDER BAY – A Canadian Ranger team from Muskrat Dam has completed a successful search and rescue mission to assist a stranded Christmas shopper.

The shopper was Master Corporal Roy Fiddler, a member of the Muskrat Dam Ranger patrol, who got into difficulties on his way home after a Christmas shopping trip to Sioux Lookout. He had driven his truck from Sioux Lookout to North Caribou Lake, left it there, and was on his way to Muskrat Dam by snowmobile on December 23 with a sled full of Christmas shopping when he encountered unsafe ice on a creek about 30 kilometres from Muskrat Dam.

“It was unsafe for me to try crossing it by myself,” he said. “If anything happened I could be in trouble.”

He had phoned ahead to let a friend in Muskrat Dam know that he was leaving North Caribou Lake and his expected time of arrival in Muskrat Dam. When he was several hours overdue the Ontario Provincial Police asked the Canadian Army for assistance and a four-member Ranger search and rescue team left Muskrat Dam to look for him.

A veteran of several Ranger search missions, Master Corporal Fiddler settled down to await the arrival of the Ranger team. “I had confidence in the Rangers, that they would make it to me,” he said.

“This was a good experience for me,” he said. ‘I did all my Ranger things. I made a little shelter and a nice big fire. I made myself comfortable and I made my coffee. I had all the tools. I had the matches, the food, all the safety things. I knew all the Ranger tricks from the Ranger training.”

After a six-hour wait the Ranger team found him shortly before midnight. They used felled tree trunks to build a bridge over the creek and ensured he was able to cross it safely with his snowmobile and sled. Escorted by his fellow Rangers, he was home in time for Christmas.

(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group a Canadian Forces Base Borden.)