A group heads out for morning snowshoe at Apex Mountain Resort. Penticton Search and Rescue remind those heading out to the backcountry areas to let their family or friends know what area they will be in before they head out, should something happen. Photo courtesy of twitter.com/apexmtnresort

Missing South Okanagan snowshoer rescued

Snowshoer was rescued from the Carmi/Beaverdale area on Sunday near Penticton

An 82-year-old snowshoer was rescued from the Carmi/Beaverdale area by Penticton Search and Rescue on Sunday.

Dale Jorgensen, president of PenSAR, said they received a call around 2:30 p.m. through the RCMP to assist in the search of a missing male around the six kilometre mark, east of the city limits.

“Under the conditions and being out there by himself it was deemed urgent and we are very fortunate the RCMP dog handler and dog team picked up a track. We followed it one way and backtracked on it,” said Jorgensen. “He was definitely quite exhausted when the team got to him. Apparently he had snowshoed in the area by himself before but there is quite a maze of trails up there that are used by mountain bikers, sledders and cross country skiers. He had travelled around and had a view of Okanagan Lake over Penticton but during his backtracking had got waylaid off the trail and into the trees. Once you are there it is hard to get a reference point.”

The rescue operation then turned to Eclipse Helicopters to use their services to land close to the man and take him to an ambulance staged on the forest service road.

“It was great in the end, but it could have gone a very different way. We are really fortunate to be able to track by air and working together with the RCMP dog handler team it made a tremendous difference, compared to putting 50 people on the ground,” said Jorgensen.

Related: Skier rescued from an avalanche near Apex Mountain

While PenSAR was called out to a few stranded snowmobiler calls and an avalanche situation on Apex proper, Jorgensen said there haven’t been too many incidents over the winter. He expects that to change as the weather gets better and issued a reminder.

“I think it is always good to let people know exactly where you are going so if something does happen it is easier to narrow down a search to a specific trail or area. It helps us if an area can be identified so we can concentrate on 20 per cent of it, instead of 100 per cent of area. In this case the person did have a backpack or daypack with food and water but if you become cold and hungry you are not always thinking properly, especially if you get up in the 3,500 to 4,000 elevation and are exposed to the cold and wind chill. But, telling people where you are going is always a big factor.”

Jorgensen said he is thankful for the working relationship with the RCMP and both Eclipse Helicopters and HNZ Topflight, which offer their pilots and helicopters when needed during a search and rescue callout.



kristi.patton@pentictonwesternnews.com
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