Missing snowmobilers located

Six North Okanagan individuals were located in avalanche terrain

Despite their experience, six North Okanagan snowmobilers ended lost and stuck in the mountains and spent a cold night in the wilderness.

The individuals set out into the Pinnacles area at approximately 10:30 a.m. Sunday and after not returning home that night Vernon Search and Rescue set out to find them around 11 p.m.

“We found them around 10:30/11 the next morning,” said Pete Wise, search master, who had ground crews, snowmobilers and a helicopter winch team in on the hunt.

The cold and tired snowmobilers were found east of Cherryville, a long ways from where they had started.

“They were in avalanche country. But they did the right thing, They hunkered down in the treeline and built a fire and stayed there.”

They were going to head out in the morning but to top it off, they ran out of gas.

Thankfully, the helicopter spotted the lights from one of their sleds.

“The helicopter couldn’t land because it was avalanche terrain, so they walked them down to where it could land and fly them back to base.

“They were a bunch of tired puppies.”

Wise says the snowmobilers were very experienced and were well prepared, except for one thing – they did not have a spot (personal locator beacon) or delorm (which allows text messages to be sent via satellite).

Anyone snowmobiling at this time of year, when warnings are constantly being issued by the avalanche centre, is urged to steer clear of dangerous areas.

“Don’t go into avalanche terrain,” said Wise, who also urges people to inform others of their plans.

“The No. 1 thing is telling someone where you are going, when you plan on coming back.

“We lost a lot of time looking for them.”

The numerous volunteers with SAR are thanked for giving up their nights to find the missing snowmobilers.

“They just kept on coming,” said Wise, who couldn’t keep track of how many volunteers turned up.