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Busy start to 2015 for Penticton rescue group

Members of Penticton Search and Rescue began 2015 with a cold swim, shown above at the Summerland polar bear dip, and a wilderness rescue.
January 06, 2015 - 4:30 PM

PENTICTON - Penticton Search and Rescue members started 2015 with a busy New Years day.

The rescue group began 2015 by volunteering to help out at the Summerland Kinsmen’s 30 annual polar bear dip. Eight members provided safety services in and out of the water to keep the 150 frigid frolickers safe as they made their New Year’s plunge into Okanagan Lake.

A Penticton Search and Rescue team then assembled later that day to coordinate a search with other rescue groups to locate a party of three all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts who became lost in the Garnet Valley area north of Summerland.

The call came into Penticton Search and Rescue at 5:20 p.m. Jan.1. Fifteen members responded to the Garnet Valley area, setting up a staging area near Garnet Lake. Civil Air Search and Rescue (CASARA) aircraft out of Kelowna were also called for assistance, with Central Okanagan Search and Rescue put on standby in case more assistance was required.

Searchers maintained contact with the lost party by texting on cell phones.  After confirming a plan by the lost trio to start a fire and remain stationary, CASARA took to the air, locating the signal fire at 9:30 p.m.

They passed their coordinates to the ground crew, who were able to find  the lost party by midnight. It took two more hours to return everyone to the staging area.

“With temperatures hovering around - 11 degrees Celsius, the fact the lost subjects stayed in one place and lit a signal fire, along with having a CASARA team available, were all elements that contributed to the event ending successfully,” said Penticton Search and Rescue Manager Richard Terry,

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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