Central Okanagan search team answers record number of calls for help | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Central Okanagan search team answers record number of calls for help

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/COSAR
June 02, 2021 - 11:00 AM

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue crew members responded to a record-breaking number of calls last month, as residents ramp up their outdoor activities.

COSAR member Edward Henczel said rescue crews are seeing an uptick in activity this spring as more people are enjoying the outdoors.

“There also might be more reliance (from) the RCMP on our services because a large number of these in May were missing seniors or missing teens within the city itself, which was a bit unusual,” Henczel said.

COSAR reported May as the busiest month in its 67 years of service, with 12 separate tasks. Crews were also active for 19 operational days, including the 10 days spent on Okanagan Lake looking for missing diver Brian Lannon.

Central Okanagan search and rescue crews have responded to 26 incidents so far this year. Last year saw a record of 82 tasks conducted.

READ MORE:  COVID-19 kept Central Okanagan Search and Rescue busy

“It’s bound to happen, we get more people in the Interior, our population is growing but there’s still visitors here even with the pandemic. A lot of these subjects have been local, perhaps a larger percentage of these have been local but there have been people coming in from out of town as well that have been getting into trouble,” Henczel said.

Search and rescue crews had a slower winter but a busier spring and summer season last year.

“There’s no real reason, it is completely random, we’ve had a few times this May where there’s been two calls on the same day and we’ve gone three weeks without a call in February and March,” Henczel said.

In contrast, calls in Penticton this spring have been about the same as last year, said Penticton Search and Rescue member Randy Brown.

Last year, the organization saw 70 incidents with 2021 having 18 so far. In May, there were eight, he said.

They had one helicopter rescue on May long weekend, he said, but calls were sporadic throughout the month.

“Right now, fingers crossed, we’re always seem to be hitting that 60 to 70 plateau these last couple of years,” he said. “I think for the size of the community have, we’re fairly busy.”

Search and rescue teams in Kamloops and Vernon did not immediately reply to a request for comment.


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