Search and Rescue teams from across the region deployed to Apex yesterday to help find a snowmobiler.
The snowmobiler had called the resort at around 4 p.m. for help, but poor cell reception dropped the call.
Penticton and District Search and Rescue (PENSAR) deployed quickly ahead of sunset. Attempts to recontact the snowmobiler or identify his location proved unsuccessful.
In addition to the 11 deployed PENSAR members, the search also recieved mutual assistance from Princeton and Oliver Osoyoos SAR, local help from the Penticton Snowmobile club and Apex resort personnel.
Around 9 p.m. RCMP was able to make contact with the man, who had been able to successfully navigate his way to safety on snowshoe. Given the size of the area where the call was dropped, rescuers would have had a difficult time in narrowing down the search as darkness fell.
“By the time the police were able to go through the significant amount of investigation to try and find where he made the phone call, going through how many cell phone providers were in the area, how many calls were made, it took them hours to figure out and locate a phone number, and then make contact with him,” said Randy Brown, PENSAR’s public affairs manager. “When you just say Apex, where do you start? That’s a massive area.”
This is the second instance where Search and Rescue teams have mobilized in recent weeks.
“Last Saturday, same thing. A snowmobiler got stuck, called 911. His cellphone dropped off the call, so he didn’t know he was talking, didn’t know he made contact. That particular person, we knew where they were, we were able to ping them.”
In last week’s case, Kelowna’s Search and Rescue team also joined in the efforts, and they were to locate the snowmobiler who was able to get back to safety on his own.
PENSAR says this reinforces the need to both let someone know where you are going and to keep trying to get in contact with Search and Rescue.
“I talked to him later that night, and he didn’t know anyone was out looking for him,” said Brown. “When you get back into range, call back and at least say ‘I know I called you, but I’m okay.’”
Another piece of advice that PENSAR wants to reinforce is to go out with a friend who can help you.
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