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Central Okanagan Search and Rescue reaches milestone with 100th callout of year

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue was called to its 100th callout of 2021 on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. COSAR

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue reached a milestone number on Tuesday: its 100th callout of the year.

According to the search and rescue organization (COSAR), the call was made at 7:42 a.m., to help police locate a missing driver after an abandoned vehicle was found near a park not far from Gordon Drive.

The search near Stillingfleet Park was deemed high urgency because of the person’s health, said COSAR.

Read more: 2021 offers record number of calls for Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

However, just before rescue crews left to help, the search was called off.

“As COSAR readied for an urban search, the RCMP dog team investigated the area around the subject’s car,” said COSAR, adding police found the subject at Kelowna General Hospital.

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This year has been record-setting for COSAR, which had 84 callouts in 2020.

Click to play video: 'Crews search for survivors after devastating tornadoes hit the midwest U.S.' Crews search for survivors after devastating tornadoes hit the midwest U.S.
Crews search for survivors after devastating tornadoes hit the midwest U.S – Dec 12, 2021

“2021 has been COSAR’s busiest year since we were founded in 1954,” said the search and rescue organization.

“Last year’s record of 84 searches was 50 per cent above a typical year. Before COVID, we typically averaged between 50 and 60 call-outs.”

Read more: Central Okanagan Search and Rescue nearing 100th callout of year

COSAR also noted that it has been on seven body recoveries — including a nine-day search for a missing scuba diver in Okanagan Lake — and assisted the Central, North and South Okanagan regional district emergency crews with evacuation orders and alerts.

Notably, COSAR said it recently wrapped up a recruiting drive that was spurred by an increase in call volume.

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In January, 15 prospects will begin training.

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