A 65-year-old Oliver resident was evacuated from a mountainside overlooking Cawston by a Penticton and District Search and Rescue helicopter rescue team on Wednesday afternoon.
The Victoria Emergency Co-ordination Centre called PENSAR shortly after 2 p.m. when a 911 call requesting medical assistance from an injured hunter was received.
According to PENSAR manager Randy Brown, the Oliver resident had been hunting in the mountain area west of Oliver when his ATV overturned which resulted in a suspected leg fracture. With no GPS co-ordinates, Keremeos RCMP were able to provide the rescue team with a location using the cell signal. This information along with phone contact with the hunter allowed rescuers to locate the subject in the mountains east of Cawston.
The subject, once located, was immediately airlifted back to Penticton where he was transferred to an awaiting ambulance. The injuries are not suspected to be life threatening.
SAR Manager Randy Brown noted that the team was able to quickly evacuate the subject from the area due to having good co-ordinates and because the call was received in early in the afternoon. This allowed for the use of a helicopter to speed the rescue effort.
“We usually get these calls close to sunset, which would have possibly negated the use of aircraft, and everything would have had to conducted via land. This would have made for a long prolonged rescue effort over difficult terrain,” said Brown in a news release.
Brown reinforced that it is important to have a plan when you are in the backcountry and tell others where you will be and your intended route. He said if you are using all-terrain vehicles, don’t travel by yourself if you don’t have to, have a buddy.
Other tips he added include: have a GPS and don’t rely on your cellphone for location because they have limitations; carry extra batteries; have a signalling device like a mirror and whistle; carry something reflective so others can see you; carry extra food, water and clothing.
“Most people don’t realize that hypothermia can be more of an issue in shoulder seasons, than in the winter. So be prepared — the fall and spring can be full of weather surprises,” he said.
Brown added that the co-ordination between police, ambulance and the SAR team was seamless and aided in the quick response.
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