Monday, March 30th7.2°C

Search & Rescue Training

Penticton Residents were treated to a highflying act Saturday as members of Penticton and District Search and Rescue – HETS Team technicians and pilots conducted their annual certification training.

HETS is a Long Line Rescue technique, also known as Human External Cargo (HEC) or Helicopter External Transport Systems (HETS), as a rescue technique that is used by trained rescuers and pilots as a team in order to extricate or rescue stranded and or/injured persons from otherwise inaccessible or technical terrain.

Penticton’s SAR Team has 8 HETS Technicians who have to qualify annually with their pilot team from Eclipse Helicopters. The Penticton Team was established in 2010 after Penticton SAR members had to be extracted from a remote site in 2009 with an injured person by a Lower Mainland SAR HETS team. The PENSAR Team quickly realized the value of having such a rescue tool at their disposal especially when time is an important factor in saving a life.

The Penticton HETS Team is activated when requested by an emergency service (BC Ambulance, RCMP and other SAR Teams under mutual aid) who face the responsibility of a challenging evacuation of a person or persons who are in medical distress in a remote of difficult area of the backcountry.

Over the past 4 years PENSAR’s HETS Team has been utilized as far North as Clearwater and in the Kelowna, Vernon, Castlegar and the Nelson Regions to evacuate injured persons. The most recent incident was only last week when COSAR requested the PENSAR HETS team under a mutual aid assistance call to assist with the retrieval of an injured mountain biker.

Frank Wolfinger and George Field ( HETS Technicians) love the job but it’s just not for everyone. Safety is a major concern for all as the HETS rescues are technical and require precision, teamwork and excellent communication. 


Comments on this story are pre-moderated and approval times may vary. Before they appear, comments are reviewed by moderators to ensure they meet our submission guidelines. Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments are open and welcome for three days after the story is published. We reserve the right to close comments before then. Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of Castanet, but only of the comment writer.

Read more Penticton News


Recent Trending



Castanet pays for news tips. Email us a news tip, photo, or video and your name will be in a draw for our weekly news tip prize $25. Email us [email protected]


Penticton SPCA Featured Pet

Reggie Penticton SPCA >


South Okanagan Quick Links City of Penticton
Penticton Tourism
Penticton Transit
Okanagan Falls
Town of Oliver
Town of Osoyoos
Town of Keremeos
Interior Health
Okanagan College
Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen
Penticton & Wine Country Chamber
Penticton Discussion Forum
District of Summerland
Summerland Chamber & Tourism
School District 67 - Okanagan Skaha
School District 53 - Okanagan Similkameen
Okanagan Regional Library
Township of Hedley

Member of BC Press Council