After a year of planning, Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR) was ready to unveil their new West Kelowna gear cache on Thursday night (Sept. 23).
Team members were set to start the ceremony but had to put it on hold after they were called out to rescue to missing hikers in the McCall Lake area, just above Peachland.
The hikers, a couple from Alberta, had successfully done the 300-metre climb to the lake. COSAR said they became disoriented and couldn’t find their way back. They circled the lake twice, but in the end, decided to sit, wait and call for help.
COSAR and RCMP decided to use a helicopter to rescue the pair.
“It was textbook,” search manager Duane Tresnich said.
“The couple did everything right by sitting and waiting for help. Wandering around in the dark could have led to trouble, as there are trails and cliffs everywhere.”
Tresnich added that the rescue was happening just as part of the team was bringing gear in from their main hall behind the Kelowna International Airport on Old Vernon Road for the new cache in West Kelowna, which mean that the team was ready for the rescue more than half an hour earlier than usual.
“I think this speaks to the success of the new location,” he said.
This rescue was the 82nd assignment for COSAR. The team is on track to break 2020’s record of 84 tasks.