Couple missing for days in Kootenay backcountry found after stomping ‘HELP’ into snow

The search for Catherine Gibbons, 22, and Damon Brodeur, 24, began Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, after Gibbons reported her missing. (RCMP handout)
The search for Catherine Gibbons, 22, and Damon Brodeur, 24, began Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, after Gibbons reported her missing. (RCMP handout)
The search for Catherine Gibbons, 22, and Damon Brodeur, 24, began Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, after Gibbons reported her missing. (RCMP handout)

The word “HELP” etched in large letters in the snow was what led rescuers to finding a man and woman safe and sound after being stranded for several days in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains this week.

The search for Catherine Gibbons, 22, and Damon Brodeur, 24, began Wednesday when Gibbons’ family reported her missing after not hearing from her for five days. It was believed the two were camping in the backcountry, police said in a news release Thursday.

On Thursday, as police conducted aerial search with local rescue crews, investigators spotted Gibbons car stuck in an ice-filled creek along a forest service road, just northeast of Cranbrook.

Near the car, investigators could see a bright orange tarp, as well as the word “HELP” stamped into the snow. To the left of the car, a large arrow was also marked into the snow, leading searchers to a cabin where the pair, along with their dog, had taken shelter for days.

“All were in good spirits,” police said, and the Gibbons and Brodeur were taken to a nearby hospital for a full medical assessment out of precaution.


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