Helicopter called in to rescue injured cyclist in South Okanagan

Click to play video: 'Penticton Long Line Rescue' Penticton Long Line Rescue
Video showing patient being long-line rescued after a cycling accident in Penticton. Shot by Skylar Noe-Vack. – Sep 23, 2018

A cycling accident late Saturday afternoon prompted a helicopter rescue in the South Okanagan.

An Alberta woman in her early 20s had to be airlifted off a biking trail above Riddle Road in Penticton, not far from Naramata,  when her bike went off the trail and into some rocks.

“There’s actually quite a series of trails for mountain biking up there, it’s called Three Blind Mice,” Capt. Graham Gowe with the Penticton Fire Department told Global News. “It’s quite an aggressive trail system up there, so it’s not really for beginner riders.”

Gowe said the trail was wet, muddy and slippery at the time of the accident.

The woman was riding with three friends, who called 911 when the accident happened.

She suffered a serious leg injury.

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“She was in about 15 minutes off from where we could get our UTV into so we had to hike into her. ” Gowe said.

The rescue operation involved the Penticton Fire Department, Penticton Search and Rescue (PENSAR) and B.C. Ambulance.

Gowe said given the time of day and remote location of the accident, a decision was made to request a helicopter for a long-line rescue.

“We were starting to get late into the evening,” Gowe said. “The call came in at 4:22. It took us probably 30 to 45 minutes to actually find her on the trail…by the time we found her, now we’re talking probably 5:30 and you know it is dark by 7.”

“It was getting to the point ‘OK can we long-line her out or are we going to be trying to bring her out in the dark?'”

The chopper long-lined the woman, along with two PENSAR members, out of the area and brought her to a landing site at a local winery where an ambulance was waiting.

She was then taken to Penticton Regional Hospital.

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Gowe told Global News the fire department has been involved in numerous rescues over the years involving incidents at the Three Blind Mice bike trail system.


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