Man arrested at paraglider rescue scene states his case

Simon Hergott said he was simply trying to help rescuers get the victim off the mountain in the quickest manner possible

A man arrested after an encounter with search and rescue personnel who were trying to rescue an injured paraglider atop Mount Paul on Nov. 13 has posted a statement on his YouTube page, detailing what he was doing that day and criticalizing Kamloops Search and Rescue personnel for ignoring his advice on how best to reach and extricate the paraglider.

According to Kamloops RCMP, a 35-year-old man was arrested at the base of the mountain after having allegedly interfered with Kamloops Search and Rescue by hiking to the top of Mount Paul peak and acting belligerently toward rescuers.

However, the man arrested — Simon Hergott — said he was simply trying to help rescuers get the victim off the mountain in the quickest manner possible.

“The situation was unfortunate, but he’s alive and that’s what matters most,” Hergott said on his YouTube page, referencing a Swiss man named Quinn, who Hergott said is the paraglider who crashed.

“There has been missing information in the reporting, in information from the RCMP and search and rescue,” Hergott said. “So, my report here is just to fill in some of the blanks and for people to understand what went down.

Hergott, an avid paraglider whose YouTube channel contains many videos of him soaring into the air — including from Mount Paul — said he met Quinn on the Bighorn golf course below Mount Paul at 3:30 pm on Nov. 13. He said Quinn was heading up the mountain to fly.

At just after 6 pm that day, Hergott said, he received a call from a friend in Sun Rivers about a person who was calling for help and a flashlight visible below a cliff on Mount Paul. Hergott said he rushed to the area and ran up Mount Paul as fast as he could. At the summit, Hergott said, he located Quinn’s general location and began yelling back and forth with him.

Hergott said Quinn told him a hiker had already reached him, but that search and rescue crews had not yet arrived.

“The terrain was difficult and dangerous, but I found the safest possible route to him which wouldn’t endanger him with rockfall,” Hergott wrote in his statement. “I knew this was going to be very important for when SAR eventually arrived. I made my way to him and assessed his condition to the best of my abilities and determined there was no extricating him on my own.”

Hergott said he placed his jacket over Quinn and moved the bulk of the paraglider wing over him.

“Then I told him and the other bystander that I would make my way back down the mountain to meet up with SAR and assist them in carrying gear,” Hergott said, noting he met the SAR team halfway down the mountain and upon impressed them the need to move fast as Quinn was cold and in pain.

Hergott said SAR members became angry with him for urging them to go faster and claimed SAR members ignored his advice on a safer route to reach Quinn.

After more back and forth, Hergott said he left Quinn with the SAR team and headed back down Mount Paul. At the bottom, he said he was arrested by the RCMP for alleged obstruction

Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoilet told KTW last week that the man arrested said he was helping search and rescue crews and that he was arrested and released without charge, pending further investigation.

Kamloops Search and Rescue manager Alan Hobler told KTW there were some civilians who showed up on the mountain who wanted to help, but they were told to leave.

Conditions of the landscape, including the potential for falling rocks, made it too dangerous for search and rescue teams to hoist the man out using its rope rescue team, so a call was made to Canadian Forces Base Comox on Vancouver Island, which sent a crew in a Cormorant helicopter.

The paraglider was airlifted via the Cormorant at about 1 am on Nov. 14 with a possible broken back or vertebra and hypothermia. The helicopter pilot ended up conducting five rescue hoists that night to extract the injured man, as well as the responding KSAR members and members of the helicopter crew, from the mountain.

In May, Hergott received a conditional discharge and a year of probation and was ordered to undergo anger-management counseling after pleading guilty to assault.

On Jan. 4, Hergott was in Kenna Cartwright Park when he came across a man Hergott believed had reported him to authorities for using a drone camera during the White Rock Lake wildfire in the summer of 2021. Using drones near wildfires is against the law.

That fire destroyed homes and other buildings in the Monte Lake area, with many critical residents of the BC Wildfire Service for what they considered inaction and for now allowing residents to fight the fire with equipment they own.

Hergott was using a drone as part of his video, A Valley Destroyed, which can be seen on his YouTube channel.