Penticton Search and Rescue had its hands full over Labour Day weekend. (Contributed)

Penticton Search and Rescue had its hands full over Labour Day weekend. (Contributed)

PENSAR attends five rescues over Labour Day weekend

Five tasks in over four days are above average for PENSAR, which has responded to 55 calls this year

Penticton Search and Rescue had its hands full over the long weekend, attending to five requests from police and BC Emergency Health Services.

PENSAR’s Kevil Hall was on for his seven-day rotation, working as the volunteer manager over the weekend. He said he had a suspicion the weekend might be busy, but he never expected the weekend to unfold the way it did.

According to Hall, the first call came from the BCEHS at around 8 a.m. on Friday to help evacuate a seriously injured Para-glider in the hills above Hedley B.C.

PENSAR’s helicopter (HETS – long line team) was dispatched to the scene along with a ground team. Due to the reported serious nature of the subject’s injuries, BCEHS dispatched its Kamloops Helicopter Team (Bravo -370) to attend as well. PENSAR crews then located the subject, provided basic first aid, packaged the subject and then airlifted the subject off the slope to the awaiting EHS aircraft. The subject was then flown to Kelowna General Hospital for treatment.

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Then on Saturday, PENSAR was tasked with three different rescues where both air and ground assets were deployed. The first call came in at 11:30 a.m. to evacuate an injured ATV rider in the Tulameen area, north of Princeton.

The next call came later in the afternoon when PENSAR aircrews received a request from Central Okanagan Search and Rescue to assist in the rescue of another injured ATV rider in the Bear Creek area.

Between the two aforementioned calls, Penticton RCMP requested PENSAR’s assistance to investigate the report of a vehicle off highway 97 down the bank just south of Penticton. The Helicopter crew returning from Tulameen event was in the vicinity and was able to locate the vehicle, however no occupants were inside.

The final call came on Monday at 10:10 a.m. when PENSAR launched a Helicopter Team into the Cathedral Provincial Park after police had received a distress beacon coming from the Matriarch Mountain area. PENSAR crews located two hikers in the area who were suffering from hypothermia and lack of supplies. The subjects were evacuated out of the area and taken by BCEHS personnel from Keremeos who had staged near Hwy 3 and the Ashinola roadway.

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Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
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