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October 28, 2017 3:17 am

Banks Alive and Well

Thursday, July 23, 2015 @ 5:11 PM

Prince George, B.C. – The search for Christopher Banks is over, and it has a happy ending.

36 year old Christopher Banks,   who has been the subject of a search  west of Prince George  for four days,  is home.

Banks  left work on Saturday night, heading for Woodcock Lake recreation site.  He  missed a turn,   ended up  at the end of a dead end road where his PT cruiser got stuck  as he tried to turn around.

Banks spent  most of the  night trying to dig himself out.

He then started walking back,  but with little water,  became dehydrated, and disoriented.   He ended up seeking shelter in a cabin on the opposite side of the lake.

In the cabin  he said he “helped himself” to the food and water.     He then  walked back to this vehicle to  once again try and dig it out.  That’s when the owners  of the cabin spotted him and picked him up.

Meantime,  a helicopter  that  had been hired by the RCMP spotted his vehicle,  radioed that it had been located and as a  Prince George Search and Rescue Vehicle was heading to that spot,  came upon the  cabin owners who had Banks in their vehicle, heading back  out of the area.

Banks was loaded on to the chopper and the Search and Rescue folks then  brought Banks back to the command centre.

“I can’t say enough  about how hard the Prince George Search and Rescue  folks worked to  locate Christopher Banks” says RCMP Corporal  Craig Douglass. “They are volunteers and  put in  countless hours in their effort to locate Christopher.  We knew  he was out there somewhere,  and we are  so  happy  this search  has  a happy ending.”



Nice to read a missing person’s story that ends well, so many times they do not, particularly when it’s a woman.

That’s some good news. I’ve been stuck down some god forsaken trails back in the day in vehicles that had no business being out in the bush. It’s good to see that things worked out for this guy.

why on earth do people head out to the wilderness, alone, at night, with no emergency preparedness?

PG101 because they can…

He might want to buy a GPS.

Sounds like he may have had a shovel. We do not know what he had with him other than that he did not have enough to drink for the circumstance of physical exertion to try to dig the car out and walking an unknown distance.

I agree 100% with your GPS suggestion. You seem to raise the level of intelligent discussion on this site, welcome back Gus.

It has been said time and time again, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back!

Also, pack and leave an emergency kit in your vehicle. You may never know when it might be needed!

Thankfully, this search ended well! Sometimes they don’t! That’s something to remember!

“He might want to buy a GPS..”

Ask SAR.Sometime GPS creates more problems then they are worth in the bush around here. People have mistaken GPS for an all out navigational tool when in fact they are for recording locations and surveying. You still have to have some degree of competence in navigational skills when your out in the back country.Although a GPS would help they shouldn’t be relied on. There is no substitute for adequately studying your planned route on orthophotos and road maps prior to your departure. Oh and for god sakes.. Let someone know here your going..!!

northman >

I am sorry, but that was true 20+ years ago.

Any helicopter pilot, for instance, working with SAR needs to know lats and departures in order to pick up someone in the bush. They wont even go out without that information. When they get there, they will see if they can land where they were told to be, otherwise search for somewhere close by. If that is not possible given weather and ground clearance area, they will head back.

The definition of “wilderness” changes over time.

If you do not have google earth, then you may not know that their base system is actually used, among other things, for an “all out navigational tool wherever there is a definable road. In this case there is.

Here is what Google earth tells me about getting to Woodcock Lake recreation site. In fact, put that into google earth search engine and it will find it for you.
From Walmart
1. Head east towards O’Grady – 160m
2. Turn left onto O’Grady – 350m
3. Turn left onto Domano – 250m
4. Turn left onto yellowhead hwy – 23.3km
5. Turn left onto Gregg Creek Forest – 7.1km
6. Turn left onto McBride Timber Rd S – 5.4km
7. Slight left to stay on McBride Timber Rd S – 4.1km
8. Continue onto Upper Mud River Rd. – 13.4km
9. Turn left – 3.4km
10. Turn right onto Pelican Lake Forest Rd – 26.2km
11. Turn right – 1.2 km
12. Turn right – 12.7km
13. Turn left – 4.8 km
14. Slight left – 300m
Arrive at an unnamed road at the lake.

Total distance 108km estimated time based on posted speed limits, 2 hours 29 min
There is a second route shown as well via the Pelican Lake Forest Rd.

I would call that a navigational tool, the type that you can buy for anywhere around $200 to $300 for a good one, and add to your car and the type that many cars come with these days, even blue tooth voice activated. And you can have a nice lady with an Irish accent give you the directions.

BTW, put transmitters on ATVs, and a forestry contractor can see exactly where all his equipment is at any given time during the day. The applications are only limited by the imagination and money.

Google Earth has enough trouble keeping current with city streets downtown and youre gonna trust it out on a forestry road.
Good luck.
SAR will be on standby

Well his first mistake was driving a PT Cruiser.

yep a PT Crusier, is pretty much a car with a higher ceiling. I would have to say a mini van would be a better choice.


My point is you still need to have some base knowledge of what you are doing and where you are going. As well as a check in plan with someone you trust. A couple years ago an elderly man used his GPS between McBride and PG to get to Wells on the Bowron FSR and he ended up stuck and lost because they GPS told him to go there.

Banks obviously had some base knowledge. He was not paying attention. As he said, he missed a turn.

As you can see, I provided a direction that was done by computer. I could follow it on an aerial image map. It tells you after how many km and even metres to turn and in which direction to turn, including road names if you can read signs in the dark in case it was dark. If you turn on the sound, it will read the information out well in advance of getting there. It will even read out your speed much more accurately than your vehicle will since that depends on which kind of tires and rims you actually have on the vehicle. In metro areas such as Vancouver it will warn you in advance of traffic congestion ahead giving approximate delay time and offering you alternate routes well ahead of time.

But hey, believe whatever you want. How is your 8 track doing?

northman > my point was that a GPS is a big time navigational tool for those who fly, are mariners right down to local taxicabs. Your point was that it is a surveying tool not a navigational tool. That is all.

The car battery dies, your vehicle based GPS dies unless it has some energy storage capacity built in. Anyone who works professionally in remote areas has survival kits. The discussions that will ensue is what should be in them not whether you need one.

Most professional vehicles that go into the bush have radios and some have satphone. And if they think they can phone 911 from anywhere in case they are injured, they are badly mistaken.

If they are close enough, to what the dispatcher thinks are paved roads, someone will end up sending out a first responder in a firetruck.

BTW, Banks may even had had a GPS but not been able to program it for the Latitude 53°35’28.72″N and Longitude 123°35’23.17″W destination where he was going.

The Ketchum Beaver Passage route which starts off at the Bowron/hwy16 intersection is about 185 km and is estimated to take 4 hours 41 minutes. The elevation profile starts off at 2890 ft and reaches 3450 ft when it joins with Barkerville Hwy about 6km east of Troll ski hill.

From the intersection with hwy 16, via main highways the distance is 256km but takes only 3 hours 19 minutes.

There is always some level of skill required to use any tool. However, most sitting at the computer typing to this site really only know how to use less than 1% of its potential. That is becoming more and more a fact of life in today’s world.

I’m glad the man is okay, that’s great news.

Now, a GPS with the ability to track one’s route WOULD certainly have helped in this situation. He was on logging roads. A GPS could have been used to re-trace his route on those same logging roads back to a point of reference or familiarity. There isn’t a GPS in the world that would be so inaccurate as to not keep you on a logging road traversable by car if you simply followed your previous route in a reverse direction. The only wild card is whether a car based GPS allows you to do that. I’m honestly not sure.

I’ve used a hand held GPS in this manner while out hiking where I lost my trail. After a few minutes of bush whacking, I was able to get back to my previous route and restore my bearings. Easy as pie.

An over the counter GPS would be useless in this case, most have older maps, most get you more lost than without one, almost none have a track unless it was built for hiking or surveying and not auto nav. Just take a auto GPS out for a drive on Cranbrook Hill and see if you can find your destination, half the roads on the GPS do not exist or are goat trails at best.

PS original story said he took the Bobtail FSR, take a leisurely drive out there and without a map it is very easy to get lost.

I have taken the shortcut form the Greg Creek FSR to the Pelican and unless someone has done a ton of work out there his car would not have made it, if he could have even found it – all those on block roads look alike.

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