Vernon Search and Rescue say they helped rescue an elderly couple during Sunday’s snowstorm.
According to search manager Leigh Pearson, the woman was trapped in her car, surrounded by blowing snow, while the husband, who has health issues, was stuck inside the house, which had no electricity.
Pearson said the car was stuck on the couple’s long driveway, and that, on the driver’s side, blowing snow had drifted over the vehicle’s roof.
“It was bitterly cold,” Pearson told Global News, adding visibility at the time was less than five feet. The storm not only took out power but phone lines as well. He also said cellphone service is spotty in the area.
The rescue happened along the west side of Okanagan Lake, at a rural acreage near Six Mile Creek Road featuring a driveway approximately a mile long.
“It was about 7:30 p.m. or so on Sunday evening when we got a call from Vernon RCMP about an elderly lady who was stuck in her driveway,” said Pearson. “She’d been stuck since about 4:30 in the afternoon.
“And she was concerned about her husband, who was stuck in the house. There no power because that had been taken out by the storm, so the house had no heat or lights.”
Pearson said the man had health issues and used an oxygen machine, but the machine was inoperable due to the power outage.
“So the RCMP requested that we go and bring them out,” said Pearson. “And they were pretty confident that we’d have to use snowmobiles, which was absolutely true.”
Pearson called the weather conditions brutal, stating Westside Road was closed, and that they passed several abandoned vehicles en route to the rural address.
“It was a bit of a struggle, but we managed to get them out and into town,” said Pearson, adding they were put into a hotel overnight until power was restored.
The rescue involved 16 crew members.
“None of us can remember (a rescue) like it,” said Pearson. “And, of course, it happened right in the middle of that incredible storm.
“It was one of those really rare events that doesn’t happen often in the Okanagan Valley. It took a while, but we got it done.”
For more about Vernon Search and Rescue, click here.