|Snowboarder Sebastien Boucher went missing Sunday on Cypress Mountain. (Facebook photo)
VANCOUVER - The snowboarder who was lost for three days after going out of bounds on Cypress Mountain says he feels horrible for putting his rescuers at risk.
Sebastien Boucher also understands why the mountain plans to bill him for costs incurred by the search.
"I feel so bad for the rescuers and the army risking their lives trying to save me," Boucher, 33, said in an interview Wednesday. "I am an idiot and dumb for the last three days.
"I curse myself. I'm just happy that nobody was hurt in the process."
In a statement, Cypress Mountain chastised Boucher. The mountain plans to send him a bill for the estimated $10,000 the search cost them.
"We are very pleased that he was rescued but we find nothing heroic about Mr. Boucher’s reckless adventure, especially after requiring the expenditure of so many resources and impacting so many people over the past two days," the statement said.
"Cypress Mountain will be forwarding a bill to Mr. Boucher to recover costs and donate the funds to North Shore Search and Rescue for co-ordinating the efforts which saved his life."
Joffrey Koeman, the mountain's sales and marketing director, said about 50 staff were involved in the search effort, along with snowcats and snowmobiles.
Boucher said he and his mother planned to make a donation to North Shore Rescue. He also is considering becoming a volunteer.
"We will be writing an amount to them," said Boucher. "If they want me to pay more, I'm just happy to be alive."
There have been suggestions that people who get lost while venturing in out-of-bound regions should be billed for their search costs.
Ian Cunnings, a search and rescue specialist with Emergency Management BC, said the provincial government has no plans to charge for rescues.
"While it might be appealing to consider introducing fines or penalties to individuals who knowingly take these risks and require rescue, it’s important to remember that such a system might make them less likely to call for help and more likely to undertake their own risky attempts, which could result in further preventable injury or death," Cunnings said.