3 kayakers rescued in North Okanagan

Shuswap, Vernon search and rescue teams make swift-water rescue Sunday

Vernon Search and Rescue, along with Shuswap members, rescued three kayakers near Lumby Sunday, May 16, 2021. (VSAR Instagram)

Vernon Search and Rescue, along with Shuswap members, rescued three kayakers near Lumby Sunday, May 16, 2021. (VSAR Instagram)

Three kayakers were rescued from a river near Lumby by Vernon Search and Rescue (VSAR) teams Sunday, May 16.

One kayaker had made it safely to shore, another was left stranded on the far side and a third was still unaccounted for as night was beginning to fall.

Twenty VSAR volunteers, with assistance from eight neighbouring team Shuswap SAR — both swift-water and search teams — were deployed to the late afternoon-early evening call.

Crews managed to get the stranded kayaker back to safety and the third kayaker was located safely around 1 a.m. Monday morning.

He was rescued from a sand bar in the middle of the river by Guardian, VSAR’s jetboat.

VSAR spokesman Trevor Honigman said using the jetboat at night was a challenge but the team was able to manoeuvre it to rescue the man stranded on the sandbar with nothing but his life-jacket and paddle.

“They did a lot of things right,” Honigman said.

Travelling in groups, wearing life-jackets and calling for help are good habits, but the three didn’t have anything to tide them over into the night, Honigman said, noting something to protect against the elements and something to illuminate would have been helpful.

“VSAR would like to recognize these individuals did a lot of things right and take the opportunity to further educate,” the organization said Monday.

“Swiftwater season is among us. With the warmer weather we have been experiencing, we are seeing more runoff from the mountainous areas,” it said. “With that comes some increased hazards: log jams, strainers, sweepers, muddy water and more turbulent flow.”

VSAR is reminding people to stay safe while playing on or near water.

Get trained, wear a life-jacket, have a whistle and pack the essentials for your activity and always let someone know where you are going.

Search and rescue provide life-saving services free of charge.

READ MORE: Vernon applies to rope off designated swimming area at Hurlburt Park

READ MORE: UPDATE: Downed parachuter on Swan Lake just a novice kite surfer


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