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Vernon snow rescue ends on positive note

They were called around 3 p.m. Jan. 16 by the RCMP to assist a stuck side-by-side UTV on the Silverstar snowmobile trails.
Image Credit: Vernon Search and Rescue
January 17, 2021 - 10:56 AM

A Vernon Search and Rescue team headed out Saturday afternoon to save a family caught in the snow, but were pleasantly surprised to find they weren’t needed after all.

They were called around 3 p.m. Jan. 16 by the RCMP to assist a stuck side-by-side UTV on the Silverstar snowmobile trails.

“Our team mobilized to our SAR hall gathering gear and sleds,” Vernon Search and Rescue said in a press release.

“We were informed that there were two adults and three children involved, all subjects were warm and safe, but unable to dig their machine out of the deep snow.”

Their team then established an Incident Command Post at the Silverstar Snowmobile trails parking lot near Sovereign Lake. While setting up the sled teams,  they were then informed the subjects had “unstuck” themselves and were on their way to the parking lot.

“Soon they arrived, the kids smiling and still interested in playing in the snow,” a Vernon SAR member said.

“This situation was the best we could have hoped for: the subjects were well-prepared for the cold weather and very capable, they kept calm and methodically tried to dig themselves out. They stayed together with their vehicle and didn’t try to walk out alone.”

Once they realized they could be facing a night alone in the mountains, and considering the potential danger to the children, they wisely activated their SOS beacon, which in turn led to SAR mobilizing their team.

After getting themselves unstuck the subjects were able to communicate with the SAR team through their inReach device. “They consistently updated us with their progress off the mountain right up to when they met our team in the parking lot,”  SAR said.

This is a reminder for the public to call early when accidents happen, SAR said.

“The longer you wait, the higher the potential risk to the subjects and to our SAR team.”

Remember, Search and Rescue is free and our volunteers train hard to be able to respond any time of the day or night.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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