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Dramatic helicopter rescue for injured man

Helicopter rescue at Christie Falls

A hot and busy Sunday for search and rescue members in the Okanagan ended with a cold, 200 mile-per-hour shower.

In a scene made for a movie, a dramatic helicopter rescue was needed after a man fell from a rope swing and was seriously injured. Located in West Kelowna, Christie Falls is somewhat remote and quite rugged. The falls are essentially a stream that drops off a rock cliff, with the rope swing located behind the falls.

“It was a remarkable rescue,” Duane Tresnich of Central Okanagan Search and Rescue said of the night rescue. “The helicopter had to drop down into the ravine so low that it was below the waterfall.”

Search and rescue members attend to the man who was injured after falling off a rope swing behind Christie Falls on Sunday.

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According to search and rescue members, the helicopter’s rear rotor was sucking in water towards the main propeller, which then forced the water downwards, onto search and rescue members. The call for help came in at 7 p.m.

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The man, in his 20s and from Quebec, was airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital.

The helicopter had been dispatched from the 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron at the military base in Comox. In all, 16 COSAR members, four from the Penticton Search and Rescue rope team and one from Prince George search and rescue were involved in stabilizing the man.

COSAR said to reach the injured man, it involved an approximate drive of one hour, then another 40 minutes to climb down where he was.

That rescue ended a busy day for COSAR. It started at 9 a.m. with a four-hour training session on wildfire safety. Then, at 1 p.m., a call came out for an injured mountain biker from South Africa who crashed and sustained a possible concussion while travelling the KVR trail. The tourist, in her 60s, wasn’t wearing a helmet. COSAR says she was stabilized and released to B.C. Ambulance.

For a YouTube video of Christie Falls, click here.