A hiker looks on as a helicopter takes his colleagues back to Bertram Creek Park near Okanagan Mountain Park after one of the hikers in a group of four fell through a snow bridge. (COSAR photo)

A hiker looks on as a helicopter takes his colleagues back to Bertram Creek Park near Okanagan Mountain Park after one of the hikers in a group of four fell through a snow bridge. (COSAR photo)

Busy Saturday for COSAR crews

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue completes successful task, helps another, receives donation

In a span of nearly five hours Saturday, March 26, Central Okanagan Search and Rescue conducted an operation, helped with another and received a hefty donation.

It was the busiest day of 2022 for COSAR.

Things began at 10 a.m. when family and friends of Ryan Fletcher presented COSAR with a cheque for more than $17,000 that they raised in his honour.

Fletcher died in December in a snowboarding accident in the Big White Mountain Ecological Reserve. The money will go towards a new building and training.

At 12:30 p.m. COSAR was contacted by Penticton Search And Rescue to assist in locating a missing subject in the Summerland area. Eight COSAR members, including its dog team, responded and joined around a dozen volunteers from Penticton and Oliver/Osoyoos SAR (Black Press is awaiting word on how the situation was resolved).

Two hours later, COSAR was tasked with rescuing four hikers in Okanagan Mountain Park.

The young men had hiked up from Naramata and had nearly made the summit when one fell through a snow bridge and became soaked in the creek underneath.

He became hypothermic as they tried to finish their trek to the cabin at Divide Lake so they called for help.

“Despite their accident, they did a lot of things correctly,” said search manager Duane Tresnich. “They hiked until they got cell coverage and called for help. We were able to stage a helicopter from Bertram Creek Park and send a team to get them. If they had waited until dark, a ground team would have taken much longer.”

Tresnich reminders adventurers that rescues are free in B.C., but it’s a good idea to carry the 10 essentials, including a Personal Locator Beacon, in case there’s no cell coverage.

This was the 10th task of 2022 for COSAR.

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