Penticton Search and Rescue (PENSAR) and the Penticton Fire Department managed to save an injured hiker using a helicopter in the Wiltse Heights area Sunday (Nov. 22) afternoon.
Just before 2 p.m., PENSAR received a report of a 21-year-old woman who was stuck on a hiking trail with an injured leg.
The woman was hiking with a friend who called 911.
Two search and rescue members and two fire department members were able to locate the woman within 30 minutes of receiving the call for help.
The search was aided by a local trail mapping app called TrailForks, said PENSAR manager Randy Brown.
Because of the woman’s condition, cold weather and the looming threat of darkness, PENSAR members determined a helicopter was necessary to get the woman to hospital safely and quickly.
PENSAR members called out for the help of a helicopter to airlift the injured hiker down the mountain. She was transported by air to the Penticton airport and taken to Penticton Regional Hospital by B.C. Ambulance Services where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
#PFD high angle rescue crew helped out a hiker with knee injuries off the mountain yesterday. @PentictonSAR requested a helicopter to lift the patient safely off the Mountain once #PFD got her to a safe landing area.#piggyback #temawork @PentictonSAR @iafflocal1399 pic.twitter.com/vbFqmZIXBU
— Penticton Fire Chief (@pentictonfire) November 23, 2020
As Penticton has seen more rescues on hiking trails than ever this year, Brown stressed the importance of always being prepared for the worst.
“Always make sure you’re wearing enough clothing. You never know what’s going to happen,” said Brown. “Make sure you’re prepared with proper footwear and a communication device.”
Brown stressed that this rescue was heavily aided by the injured hiker using the TrailForks app. Through the app, PENSAR was able to find the woman’s exact coordinates immediately through the app’s SOS feature and locate her quickly.
Had she not have had the app, the rescue could have taken much longer, potentially putting PENSAR members and the injured hiker in a dangerous spot as nightfall approached.
Brown encouraged all hikers to download the app, especially as there has been an unprecedented amount of rescues this year in the Penticton area.