QUESNEL, B.C. (January 20, 2001) — An 18-year-old snowmobiler has been rescued by friends using the Tracker DTS avalanche transceiver, none of whom had previous transceiver experience at the time of the accident.
Jeff Swaan, 15, of Quesnel, B.C. made the live recovery on January 3,just one week after receiving the Tracker DTS as a Christmas gift from his father, Robert Swaan. Young Swaan’s beacon experience at the time of the accident was limited to several minutes in his home on Christmas day, when he turned the Tracker on after removing it from the box.
The victim, Jesse Bowden, 18, was buried approximately six feet deep in the avalanche. The slide was approximately 100 meters wide and 100 meters long, with a 6-8 foot crown. Bowden was located in less than five minutes, then was recovered after approximately 10 minutes of excavation by Swaan and three other friends, Tyler Beckman, A.J. Bardon, and Kyle Scanlon; only Swaan was carrying a shovel. Bowden was unconscious and blue when recovered, but gained consciousness at the scene after the rescuers cleared his snow-packed airway. He was wearing a Tracker DTS.
The Tracker DTS revolutionized the avalanche transceiver industry four years ago when it was introduced to the North American market by Backcountry Access, Inc. (BCA) of Boulder, CO. It was the firstavalanche transceiver to incorporate digital technology and a dualreceiving antenna. The Tracker DTS was designed by electrical engineer John Hereford, with the goal of making transceivers more user-friendly for typical recreationists than existing analog, single-antenna beacons.
In recent years, the Tracker DTS has become equally as popular withprofessionals as with recreationists, and is now the top-sellingtransceiver in North America.
“If it hadn’t been for Jeff’s beacon, they never would have got Jesseout alive and may never had found him,” said Cheryl Swaan, Jeff’smother, in a letter to BCA. The boys say they have learned a hugelesson. Never go into the mountains without a beacon, shovel, andlevel-headed smarts!”
“This is an absolutely remarkable save and the boys are to becommended,” said Bruce McGowan, President of BCA. “Though theirexperience is limited and they made some serious mistakes,they were smart enough to have safety equipment and they kept their cool under great stress. We are ecstatic that there was a happy ending.”