Air ambulance assists climber at Penticton’s Skaha Bluffs

Climber at Skaha Bluffs was taken by the B.C. Air Ambulance service to Kelowna hospital after suffering a fall on Wednesday afternoon.

A climber at Skaha Bluffs was taken by the B.C. Air Ambulance service to Kelowna General Hospital after suffering a fall on Wednesday afternoon.

Monica Ander, with the Adventure Tourism Leadership and Safety Academy from a L.V. Rogers Secondary School in Nelson, B.C., said their group was at the popular climbing area just outside of Penticton when the incident occurred around 3 p.m. She said the climber fell 30 metres to the ground.

“It wasn’t a member of the student group that fell, it was a recreational climber. Our group did help do most of the rescue by getting a spinal board in there, setting up the heli-sight and doing a lot of first aid,” said Ander.

The instructor said the climber was attached to a rope that was tight when he fell to the ground and it was obstructing him so someone cut it to free him.

“He was climbing on our rope at the time, but it did not snap. There was nothing wrong with our safety. Our ropes were intact, our anchor systems were intact. It was a miscommunication that the climber had and he fell from the anchors,” said Ander. “Because we had cut the rope after he had fallen there were some climbers that came afterwards that had assumed something different had happened, that there was something wrong with our equipment, but that wasn’t the case.”

She said the students were shaken up from the experience.

A B.C. Ambulance service spokesperson confirmed that they sent a ground crew and helicopter, which came from Kamloops, to the area and transported one patient. Due to confidentiality reasons, the spokesperson could not give out the condition of the patient. Penticton and Area Search and Rescue co-ordinator Cindy Smith said they had initially been called out to the area to assist but then were called off.