Ontario Men Pivotal in Algonquin Rescue

On the first Sunday in September, a weekend camping trip in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park might have turned deadly for a young woman—except for the actions of two young men who went the distance to bring rescuers.

Justin and Candice Adema, members of ClearView Christian Reformed Church in Oakville, Ontario, and Justin’s brother Seth and his wife, Emily, members of Waterloo (Ontario) CRC, were interior camping on the remote Algonquin Western Uplands Trail when they heard someone calling for help around 8:30 p.m.

Justin and Seth ran toward the cry, about half a kilometer away, where they found a man who told them that a young woman in their group of hikers was having a severe asthma attack and needed medical help. The man was visibly exhausted. So while Candace and Emily gave him food and water, Justin and Seth worked with the man to pinpoint the young woman’s location on the map.

That is when the two brothers began a long distance run to bring help. It was dark, and they had an eight-kilometer (five-mile) run to their car. They wore headlamps, but the trail was narrow with roots underfoot, making it a difficult run.

Both brothers run on a regular basis, but not necessarily after a full day of hiking and swimming. “We certainly felt it the next day,” said Justin.

In addition to the physical exertion, the trip was mentally draining. They saw multiple similar rock formations and questioned if they were on the right route or running in loops. “We really had to mentally push ourselves to keep running,” Justin explained.

Reaching their car, they drove until they had cell phone reception to call 911 and relay the woman’s location. As they returned to their campsite, they heard a helicopter overhead. The military search and rescue team arrived, stabilized Camellia Bustard, and air-lifted her to a nearby hospital where she recovered.

Afterward, Seth said, “Both of us feel that anyone in our situation would have done the same as we did.”

About the Author

Krista Dam-Vandekuyt is the Banner’s regional news correspondent for classis Hamilton.