The Whistler Search and Rescue Society (WSAR) is mourning one of its own, 51-year-old Toby Salin, who was found dead near Lillooet Lake on Saturday, June 18, authorities have confirmed.
Salin was last seen in Pemberton at about 9 a.m. on June 16, and his truck was later located off West Lillooet Lake Road around the In-SHUCK-CH Forest Service Road, southeast of Pemberton, according to police.
An eight-year member, Salin “was and is a beloved member of the Whistler Search and Rescue family,” said WSAR president Brad Sills in a phone call Monday. “He brought to the team’s toolbox a high level of skills in ski touring, snowmobiling and a really dry sense of humour, which was very much appreciated.”
A complete search of the area involved numerous agencies, including search-and-rescue members, the RCMP and local residents.
“Pemberton RCMP would like to thank all those who supported the search including: Pemberton SAR, Blackcomb Helicopters, LMD Air Services, LMD ERT, RCMP IPDS, Stl'atl'imx Tribal Police, RCMP speciality sections, Whistler RCMP, the local residents, and most importantly the friends and loved ones,” police said in a release.
Not the first time local rescue crews have had to search for one of their own, Sills said it is an experience that’s difficult to describe.
“You do it because it’s what you’re trained to do and because it's one of your own and the aftermath results in a lot of soul searching and discussion among friends,” he said. “We band together and reach out to professionals in times like this.”
Sills noted local SAR members have access to counselling and professional support thanks to funding from the BC Search and Rescue Association.
The RCMP said there will be no further information or media availability connected to the investigation.
Meanwhile, an online fundraiser has been started to assist with education costs for Salin’s two young sons. “We want to support [the boys] in their long journey and make sure they have the funds to continue their education and go to university if they choose,” the campaign reads. So far, nearly $6,000 of the $25,000 goal has been raised. Find the campaign at gofundme.com/f/karl-andrew-pattersonsalin.