By Peter Moon
SACHIGO LAKE – Canadian Rangers from Sachigo Lake and Muskrat Dam, two isolated First Nations in the Far North of Ontario, joined forces to go to the aid of a couple from Sachigo Lake when the young man and woman were reported missing.
The couple left Sachigo around 9 p.m. to drive by snowmobile to Muskrat Dam, a journey of about an hour.
When they did not arrive in Muskrat Dam as expected the mother of one of them became alarmed and contacted a Canadian Ranger in Muskrat Dam.
Sergeant Kevin Meikle, a Canadian Army instructor, who was in Muskrat Dam to conduct training with the local Rangers was about to go to bed when two Rangers contacted him at 2 a.m. to alert him to the situation.
“The mother in Sachigo was contacted to get more information about the couple’s dress and so on and I notified the local (Nishnawbe Aski Police) about the situation,” he said. “They contacted the OPP and the OPP asked for the army’s help. The army authorized the Rangers to begin a search.”
There was concern that the couple might have run into problems on the trail between the two communities because of sections of open water. Rangers from both Sachigo Lake and Muskrat Dam headed out on the trail by snowmobile. They found the couple taking shelter in an unheated maintenance cabin, cold but unharmed. Their snowmobile had broken down. The temperature at the time was -14C.
The Rangers from Sachigo Lake took the couple back to Sachigo Lake with them.
Sachigo Lake and Muskrat Dam are small Oji-Cree communities about 650 kilometers north of Thunder Bay.
“It just goes to show the reputation the Canadian Rangers have in Northern Ontario when the mother of one of the missing couple phoned a Ranger in Muskrat Dam,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Richardson, commanding officer of 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, which commands the Rangers in Northern Ontario. “The word is getting out about what the Rangers can do in situations like this and that they are saving lives time and time again. They do a remarkable job when they are called upon for assistance.”
In 2016 the Rangers saved 32 lives in 26 search and rescue missions in Northern Ontario.
(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden)