Tuesday, September 2nd17.1°C

Chute Lake Rd. fire

Raw video by - Tristan

Fire crews were called to a small brush fire above the Mission, off of Chute Lake Rd., Monday night.

The fire is now under control.

People reported seeing flames at around 8 p.m., the Kelowna fire department says the fire was located in an area around Frazer Lake.

It grew to about 10 feet by 20 feet before crews arrived and knocked it down. It was burning in brush and a few downed trees.

A witness says they saw two teens leave the scene just before the brush erupted in flames. The same person says they called 911 and the fire department was there in about ten minutes.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Send photos and video to [email protected]




Quad crash hospitalizes one

A quadding accident near Beaver Lake has hospitalized one man with serious injuries.

The incident occurred Sunday evening around 6 p.m.

Initially Central Okanagan Search and Rescue had been called to aid in the rescue, but the BC Ambulance service saved the man themselves and airlifted him to hospital in Kelowna. 

A woman who was camping nearby said the man was riding his quad with friends and family when he suddenly lost control and was badly injured.

Lake Country Fire Department and RCMP could not be immediately reached for details.


Old Vernon Road crash

A crash around 11 p.m. Saturday night closed Old Vernon Road and was caused by an impaired driver.

Cpl Steve Woodcox with Kelowna RCMP said the 27-year-old Kelowna woman showed signs of impairment at the scene and was brought back to the police station to provide a breath sample. 

Her sample proved she had twice the legal amount of alcohol in her system.

She crashed into a truck driven by a 59-year-old male. It appears they were the only two people involved.

There were no reported injuries to either person.

A witness said she heard a big bang and by the time she got up to the road, the Ellison Fire Department had already responded. 

Ellison Fire Department confirmed two vehicles were involved and that traffic was reduced to single lane alternating for some time. 

The tow truck driver had a hard time figuring how to get one of the vehicles moved said Mary Wagner.

"He had to remove the tire by cutting it off and removing something else from underneath the rear end of the truck," she said.  


Family looks for answers

The family of an Alberta man who went missing on Okanagan Lake last week is still looking for answers in the puzzling case.

Brian Daryl Lakevold of St. Albert, Alberta appears to have gone missing while out on his boat Tuesday, August 26. The boat was apparently adrift when it was involved in a crash. Some of Lakevold's personal effects were found on board and it was confirmed with the family that he was missing. 

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue looked for Lakevold for several days, but RCMP eventually called off the search without locating him. 

COSAR vice president Duane Tresnich said his team is ready to resume the search when or if any new information becomes available.

However, ending the search has left Lakevold's family members in distress and looking to the public for information on Lakevold's whereabouts before he went missing.

"We know that the last communication from Brian was through a text he sent just after 2 p.m. on Tuesday," said Adam Less, who is close to the Lakevold family. "His other brother sent him a text just after 3 p.m., but it wasn't responded to. And as you know, the boat was discovered shortly after 9 p.m." 

Less and the Lakevold family are hoping that someone might have seen the boat between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. and might have information as to where Lakevold was before his boat was discovered.

"There might be someone out there who was on the lake taking cell phone videos with their family, or shooting family photos, who may have something in the background that could help," Less said in an email.

Anyone with any information is encouraged to contact Kelowna RCMP or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Castanet's week in review

Castanet's week in review, with Jen Zielinski.


Bus crash victims

Wayne Moore

Almost half of the passengers taken to hospitals after a tour bus flipped over on a British Columbia highway have been released, health officials said Saturday.

The news provides some relief after all 56 people on board the bus were injured while it was returning from a tour of the Rocky Mountains. The passengers were tourists from Canada, mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States.

Fraser and Interior health authorities said 26 of the 55 people taken to hospital have been discharged.

The Interior Health Authority said three people are in critical condition, and two more are being treated for serious injuries — a significant decrease from the last update.

On Friday, seven people were listed in critical condition, while six others were being treated for serious injuries.

RCMP said in a news release some children were on board, but none suffered serious injuries when the bus crashed about a three-hour drive away from Vancouver.

Once the accident happened, authorities initiated a code orange response, which means hospital workers should get ready for mass casualties.

Darshan Lindsay of the authority said things appear to be going back to normal at interior hospitals, which at the time of the accident were filled with extra staff who were scrambling to keep up with the influx of patients.

"Since then as patients have been treated, things have definitely normalized," she said. "We've seen many discharges as well."

"We have seen some patients move from the serious condition to non-life-threatening condition because they have seen some improvement."

The vehicle was carrying a tour group organized by Super Vacation, a company based in Richmond, B.C., which describes itself as the largest Chinese tour operator in North America.

The company has said it has been in contact with some of the passengers and was trying to figure out ways to help.

Super Vacation has said the bus was operated by Western Bus Lines, which describes itself as a company with 35 years of experience in providing safe, reliable and affordable transportation.

On Friday, a person who answered the phone at the Western Bus Lines office said the company had no comment, then hung up.

Further requests for comment were not immediately returned.

Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the accident, but have ruled out speed and road conditions after RCMP viewed video footage of the crash.

The Canadian Press

Deadly Hwy. 97 crash

Bill Everitt


A tragic head on collision, at the south end of Duck Lake on Hwy 97, took the life of a Manitoba woman this morning.

At just before 8:30 a.m. emergency crews were called to the scene and found a pickup truck engulfed in flames and on its side, and a white sedan with severe front end damage.

According to witnesses the Dodge pickup was travelling southbound in the fast lane and was observed slowly "veering" across the painted median and into the path of a northbound White Ford sedan, who tried to avoid the pickup.

The force of the head on impact caused the pickup to roll in the northbound lane, coming to rest on the passenger side.

The pickup caught fire and passersby were able to get the pickup driver, a 33 year old Comox area male, out of the vehicle as it burned. The occupants of the white sedan, a man and woman from Manitoba both in their 60s, were trapped and needed to be extricated by Fire crews using the jaws of life.

The male driver suffered extensive serious head injuries and was taken to Kelowna General Hospital.

The female passenger succumbed to her injuries and perished at the scene.

The pickup driver was taken to Kelowna General Hospital for treatment of non life threatening injuries and the driver of the black Pontiac was uninjured.

The driveshaft of the flipped truck broke free and smashed into the front-end of a third vehicle. The occupants were uninjured, but their vehicle sustained heavy damage.

Hwy. 97 was closed in both directions as two RCMP Traffic Analysts attended to investigate the scene. Traffic flow was restored at 1:15 p.m.

Police believe speed may have been a factor and are investigating to find out why the pickup crossed into the oncoming lane. To that end, Police are asking anyone who witnessed the collision or was travelling southbound at the time of the collision, to contact Cst. Prommer, Central Okanagan Traffic Services at 250-980-5353.

UPDATE 1:30 P.M.

The crash has been cleared and Highway 97 is open once again.

UPDATE 12:30 P.M.

DriveBC estimates the highway will reopen at 1:30 p.m.

Traffic is now inching along Glenmore Road, although it is still bumper to bumper up to Cross Road. 

The latest from DriveBC is that RCMP are still assessing the scene and there is still no estimate of when the highway will reopen. 

Callers are telling Castanet that traffic is now backed up into Glenmore. Drivers trying to use that route to get through may find that it's all blocked up there and that traffic does not appear to be moving in either direction.

Another caller said she is stuck in traffic and that all side streets and detour routes appear to be blocked. 

If you have information about which routes are moving, please send to [email protected]

A multi-vehicle accident has closed Highway 97 near the airport north of Kelowna. 

Emergency crews responded to the incident around 8:30 a.m. The highway is currently closed in both directions and there is no apparent detour.

It appears one of the vehicles crossed the centre line, colliding head on with an oncoming car. The impact flipped one of the vehicles on its side where it burst into flames. It appears the driveshaft of the flipped vehicle broke free and bounced down the road, smashing into a third vehicle.

There are unconfirmed reports that one person has passed away in the incident. Two others are in hospital with unconfirmed injuries.

Three ambulances, one rescue vehicle, one fire engine and RCMP attended the scene.

More details to come. 



Bus crash: 'Blood everywhere'

When the tour bus carrying Janice Wong's family and dozens of other tourists stopped rolling along a mountain highway in British Columbia, the 19-year-old found herself in a writhing heap of people catapulted from the vehicle.

The scene was so bloody and dusty she couldn't tell who was who. She screamed out for her parents.

"I couldn't see — I was panicking at the same time," Wong said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"I was like, 'I don't know what the hell just happened. Where's my parents? Holy crap. Are they dead?' It was just blood everywhere."

Wong and her parents, American citizens from Los Angeles who were in BC for a holiday, were among 56 people on a tour bus that was returning to the Vancouver area from a trip to the Rocky Mountains.

The bus crashed Thursday afternoon about 30 kilometres south of Merritt.

Everyone on the bus was injured, and 55 of them were treated in various hospitals throughout the region. By Friday, seven people were listed in critical condition and six others were in serious condition, while 19 had been discharged.

Wong and her father were treated for minor injuries at the hospital closest to the accident in Merritt, but her 56-year-old mother was airlifted to Kelowna where she underwent surgery. Wong said her mother remained in the intensive-care unit.

"It's a miracle I'm perfectly fine. A little too lucky. Just a little too lucky," Wong, who just visited her mother in the Kelowna hospital, said as tears welled in her eyes.

Wong's father remembers tumbling in the bus and then bleeding, but said he knew how to handle the terrifying scenario because he fought as a soldier for the U.S. in the Vietnam War.

"The scratches are OK," said James Wong, 68, who was wearing someone else's glasses and clothing still spattered with blood.

"But life is life. When (something) comes, it comes. We can't expect anything. That's the way I look at it."

The RCMP had to pinpoint the cause of the crash. Investigators said Friday that video footage from a dashboard camera allowed them to rule out speed or road conditions.

"It's more an issue that the driver drove into the centre median and then veered too hard trying to get onto the road," said Sgt. Brian Nightingale.

"We're doing mechanical (inspections) today on the bus, so that will rule out any kind of mechanical factors, like steering and braking and that kind of stuff."

The RCMP said in a news release that several children were on the bus, but none suffered serious injuries.

The release said passengers on the bus were from Canada, the United States and China, but they did not have a detailed breakdown of the passengers' nationalities.

The passengers were on a tour organized by Super Vacation, a company based in Richmond, which describes itself as the largest Chinese tour operator in North America.

Company spokesman L. Lau said the bus left Golden, B.C., on Thursday morning and was en route to Vancouver. The crash scene is more than five hours southwest of Golden.

Lau said many of the passengers are from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, though he said some are from BC and elsewhere in Canada. He said the company had been in touch with some of the passengers and was figuring out ways to provide assistance.

"We have been planning for everything right now," said Lau, who declined to give his full name. "Of course, some of the patients we can't see."

On Friday, some of the passengers continued by bus to Vancouver, he said.

Lau said the bus was operated by Western Bus Lines, which he said is a "major local bus company with 35 years of experience." Someone who answered the telephone at the Western Bus Lines office in Kelowna said the company had no comment and then hung up.

"We are waiting for the police report," Lau said.Photos from the scene on Thursday showed the white bus upright, with visible damage to its side and the Western Bus Lines logo mostly scraped off. Passengers and emergency workers could be seen standing alongside the bus, with debris strewn about the road.

The Canadian Press

SUV splashes into creek

The driver of a Kia SUV has been taken to hospital after driving his vehicle into Mill Creek on Enterprise Way Friday afternoon.

According to RCMP at the scene the man, the lone occupant of the vehicle was heading east on Enterprise Way when the incident occurred.

She says paramedics believe the man lost consciousness before crashing the vehicle.

"He took the gradual turn, knocked the sign over and went beside the wall and into the creek," says the officer on scene.

"It seems like a medical issue."

The man was apparently alert and talking when he was taken to Kelowna General Hospital for observations.

Injuries as a result of the crash were said to be minor.

Jail time for high speed crash

A Kelowna, B.C., man has been sentenced to 15 months in jail, one year probation and banned from driving for two years for causing a fatal crash in West Kelowna.

Jordan Garvin was travelling almost 160 kilometres an hour when he tried to run a yellow light in March 2012, and T-boned a left-turning vehicle, instantly killing 46-year-old Cindy Thomas, a West Kelowna mother of two.

Her fiance was seriously injured.

Garvin was convicted of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm, following a three day trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna.

The 24-year-old sobbed heavily in court as he apologized and expressed his deepest condolences to his victims and their families, calling the crash a haunting tragedy that he must live with for the rest of his life.

In handing down the jail term, Justice Alison Beames said nothing will seem high enough to recognize the tragic consequences of Garvin's driving and nothing will seem lenient enough to recognize his genuinely good character and enormous remorse. 

The Canadian Press

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