New Year’s Day hike in West Kelowna ends in tragedy: COSAR

Click to play video: 'Hiker’s death prompts safety message from COSAR'
Hiker’s death prompts safety message from COSAR
The Central Okanagan Search and Rescue team has outgrown its current space. But it looks like the Regional District of Central Okanagan could finally deliver some much-needed financial help - and pave the way for a new home. Randi-Marie Adams reports – Jan 2, 2024

The new year got to a tragic start for a West Kelowna hiker who didn’t make it home.

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue members were called on at around 11 a.m. for a medical rescue on the Goats Peak Trail in West Kelowna.

“A person had collapsed while hiking. COSAR responded with ground and UTV teams,” COSAR said in a press release.

“Along with members of the (fire department), the teams worked together to recover the person but unfortunately that person passed away.”

As COSAR was demobilizing from that event, members received a second call from the Kelowna RCMP to assist in a search for a report of a “despondent person,” though that ended positively when the person was located and COSAR was stood down.

Click to play video: 'Search and rescue teams warn of overreliance on online maps'
Search and rescue teams warn of overreliance on online maps

Just after nightfall, COSAR received their third call, this time to assist the West Kelowna RCMP in locating a lost hiker that called 911.

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“The hiker had gone up the McDougall Rim Trail, ran out of daylight, and then became lost,” COSAR said.

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“Ebike and ATV teams were deployed and the ATV team and RCMP quickly located and transported the subject back to the trailhead.”

Search manager Duane Tresnich says that while the person did the smart thing and called for help when they got into trouble, hikers should remember to check the time when they start a hike to ensure they have enough daylight to return.

Most importantly, when you call for help, don’t move. Barring any other information, SAR will head to the last position your phone called from.

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In 2023, COSAR had 74 callouts, making 2023 the organization’s third busiest year in its 70 year history.

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