Snowmobilers found east of Mabel Lake

Whiteout conditions make it difficult for emergency personnel

Two local snowmobilers are uninjured after being caught in whiteout conditions east of Mabel Lake.

The local men had been out with a group of friends Saturday night when they decided to stay in the Nelson Mountain/Finlayson Lake area for one more run. However, one of the snowmobiles ran out of fuel and the pair teamed up on one machine and started to head out of there area when a blizzard rolled in.

They started to head north but eventually stopped and took shelter under a downed tree. They had emergency supplies and got a fire going.

“Conditions were absolutely the worst. Visibility was zero,” said Pete Wise, with Vernon Search and Rescue.

Vernon SAR, with assistance from Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, the RCMP and the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, were called out at about 10 p.m. Saturday.

Poor visibility and deep snow made the search extremely difficult but the snowmobilers were eventually spotted by a helicopter at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

“It was difficult to find a spot to land because of the depth of the snow,” said Wise.

Contact was eventually made with the pair and they were taken out of the area.

“They are very lucky guys. They were cold and wet but they were alive,” said Wise.

“It could have been far worse. That extra ride could have cost them their lives.”