Twas the night before Christmas and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue was stirring.
Just before 11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, COSAR was called to assist the Kelowna RCMP in finding an elderly woman with a mental health issue in the North Glenmore area.
“The female had left her resident and was lightly dressed for the conditions outside,” said COSAR search manager Duane Tresnich.
Eleven members responded, including search dog Chase.
Within 30 minutes, one of the search teams located the woman and stayed with her until RCMP arrived. She was checked out to make sure there were no physical injuries, and left with the RCMP.
“This was a text book urban search and I’m glad that the team was able to locate her so fast,” said Tresnich. “It was a great way to start Christmas Day.”
This was COSAR’s 104th task of the year.
Tresnich would like to remind everyone that when they head into the back country over the Christmas break to please remember the 10 essentials through www.adventuresmart.ca.
DUO MAKE SUBSTANTIAL DONATION TO COSAR
Three years ago, Andrew MacLeod and TJ Dumonceaux were saved by search and rescue. They played it forward by making a $15,000 donation to Central Okanagan Search and Rescue.
In 2018, MacLeod and Dumonceaux were test riding rental snowmobiles near Revelstoke when they ran low on gas and decided to head back to the trailhead. However, fog had enveloped the mountain and somewhere in the whiteout they missed a turn, dropped into a ravine, and got stuck.
As darkness fell and with all of their spare clothes soaked because of a ruptured water bottle, they dug a shelter in a treewell and lined it with branches.
However, the sweat from digging in the snow, combined with condensation from their breath made everything they were wearing damp, so Dumonceaux set his alarm for every 15 minutes so they wouldn’t doze off into hypothermia
“I’ve never been so cold in my life,” said MacLeod.
When the sun rose at around 7 a.m, it was still foggy so the pair started walking. It was slow going in the waist deep snow and they would walk for less than a minute before they needed to stop for a rest.
“It was so cold I couldn’t use my hands,” said Dumonceaux, a former member of the Vernon Vipers B.C. Hockey League team.
Dehydrated and severely hypothermic, the two were starting to look for another place to spend the night when they heard snow bikes.
Dumonceaux set off a flare and a few minutes later members of the Revelstoke SAR snowbike team arrived.
Hot soup, dry clothes and a heated UTV got the two safely back to the trailhead.
And today, through their companies, TJ & Steph Real Estate Group and The Co-Operators: Solve Insurance Service Inc., the two are thanking search and rescue.
They gave the money to their local volunteer organization because of the increased numbers of riders enjoying the local Greystokes snowmobiling area and the huge increase in callouts COSAR has had to deal with this year.
“We are extremely grateful for the donation,” said COSAR president Brad Trites.
“This money will go towards snowmobile and avalanche training for the team. We do mutual aid with all the regional search and rescue groups, including Vernon, Shuswap, and Revelstoke, and this donation will benefit them as much as it will benefit us.”
If you want to donate to COSAR, go to Cosar.ca and click the donate button.
All donations over $20 will get a tax-deductible receipt.