West Kelowna Fire Rescue, COSAR extricate 2 teens trapped in canyon

Members of Central Okanagan Search and Rescue pull on ropes during a high-angle rescue on Friday evening. Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

West Kelowna Fire Rescue came to the rescue of three people involved in separate and simultaneous incidents on Friday evening.

According to WKFR, the first incident was a motorcycle crash along the upper end of Bartley Road. One person suffered an ankle injury, with four firefighters using a utility-terrain vehicle to access the area and assist B.C. Ambulance.

The second incident involved two teens trapped in Bear Creek Canyon, requiring a team-effort, high-angle rescue.

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WKFR fire chief Jason Brolund said crews hiked to the location and worked alongside Central Okanagan Search and Rescue in rescuing the teens from a steep canyon.

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR) said the two teens, 17 and 18, were out for a hike and decided to climb down the canyon to swim and drink from a waterfall.

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A rope system was used to haul the two to safety. Brolund said the two teens were wet and cold, but in good health before being turned over to B.C. Ambulance for further assessment.

“The patients were uninjured, but required rescue from a difficult location, in the dark,” Brolund said in a press release.

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According to COSAR, the water carried them downstream, placing them in a spot where they couldn’t climb back up.

COSAR said a helicopter rescue was attempted, but, due to fading light, that was scrubbed. It then reached out to WKFR for assistance.

The two groups worked together to bring up the two teens, who were sitting on a ledge, just above the water, while waiting to be rescued.

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WKFR said nine firefighters were involved in the rescue, while COSAR said it responded with 14 members. One RCMP member and two B.C. Ambulance members were also on scene.

The two were pulled 300 feet up the cliff and turned over to their parents at 1 a.m.

“This was a very technical rescue which took over five hours to complete and needed the combine teams to work together for this very successful outcome,” said COSAR search manager Duane Tresnich.

WKFR noted that crews also responded to several other incidents on Friday, including a natural gas leak as well as carbon monoxide and smoke alarm activations in the Westbank area.

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