SOUTHEND, Sask. — Searchers on Monday rescued five teenagers from an island in a northern Saskatchewan lake where they were found after failing to return on time from a moose-hunting trip.
RCMP said the four boys and one girl were all in good health, but were being taken to a health centre in the community of Southend as a precaution.
Police said a rescue boat picked up the teens on one side of Malcolm Island in Reindeer Lake, where they were first spotted, and took them to the other side of the island, where there is a small airstrip.
Search-and-rescue crews were able to land at the airstrip and fly the teens back, in two trips, to Southend by late afternoon.
The teens, who are between 13 and 17 years old, had not returned on time Thursday from a hunting trip.
Simon Jobb, a local councillor with the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, said the community is relieved to have the teens home.
“The atmosphere is very good,” he said. :The weather conditions were horrible, in regards to people out there in this kind of weather … we’re very, very thankful.
“Seeing them and talking to them, I know they are very happy to be home,” he said. “I’m sure there are some emotions.”
RCMP spokeswoman Mandy Maier said earlier in the day that strong winds, large waves and dropping temperatures had been hampering search efforts.
“The weather has not been good in the area,” said Maier, who added that temperatures were ranging from -10 to -18 C.
Police said the teens, who left Southend on Tuesday in two aluminum boats, were equipped for overnight camping. It was suspected they had taken shelter on shore from the cold and wind.
Maier said she didn’t know if the teens are related.
Search officials had seen two boats docked at a private lodge on Saturday, but no one was able to get to the area until Sunday due to poor weather.
Maier said the cabin was vacant, but had been broken into and some supplies were taken. Police weren’t able to confirm that the group was there.
Reindeer Lake is Saskatchewan’s second-largest lake at more than 6,650 square kilometres and with numerous islands and bays. The community of Southend is the end of Highway 102, which is the only road access to the lake.