Early Thursday morning, the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR) team was called to help the RCMP find a patient missing from Kelowna General Hospital.
At around 2 a.m., COSAR got a call from the Kelowna RCMP asking for help to find a patient who had walked away from the hospital shortly after having surgery.
Ground crews on foot and e-bikes searched the area along Abbott Street, and at 8 a.m. a team found the missing patient’s backpack.
COSAR’s new labrador retriever, Chase, was brought to the scene and within minutes he had located the 86-year-old man lying under a pile of leaves and suffering from severe hypothermia.
Chase was lovingly nicknamed ‘The Wonder Dog’ by the COSAR, just two weeks ago when he joined the team. He is two-and-a-half years old and, along with his handler Terry Downs, has spent over 2,000 hours training.
“Research has shown that search and rescue dogs are equivalent to 20 ground personnel,” says COSAR search manager Kevin Birnie. “He proved his worth today.”