Central Okanagan  

Locals to search Australia for Canadian

Local search experts are heading to Australia to hunt for Prabhdeep Srawn, who has been missing since May 13.

The three Central Okanagan Search and Rescue member’s (COSAR) left to assist in the search on November 4th

Team leader Troy Becker, a member of the West Kelowna Fire Department, along with COSAR Search manager Brett Millard, Owner of SPEIR Wealth Management Inc. and GSAR member Matt Jefferson, a newly trained Primary Care Paramedic have volunteered for the two-week mission. Srawn, a Master Corporal Reservist in the Canadian Army and current law student at Bond University in Gold Coast, Australia has been missing in the Southern Australian alps, south of Canberra.

They will assist Srawn's family to search for Srawn who is trained in cold-weather survival and went missing while on a day hike in a rugged area known as Snowy Mountains. 

Their search efforts will be concentrated on the area of Snowy Mountains near Charlotte’s Pass and more specifically Mt. Kosciuszko and Mt. Townsend at 2228m, where Srawn was last known to be.

Until recently the area was covered in snow but with the spring thaw occurring the family has requested the assistance of experienced wilderness search and rescue (SAR) members from North America. The three members from the Central Okanagan have over 25 year’s experience in SAR operations with specialized training in wilderness searches, swiftwater rescue, ice rescue, rope rescue, wilderness survival, wilderness and emergency medical. They will join other searchers, both local and international.

COSAR Search Manager Rob Braun said agencies in Australia conducted numerous searches using helicopters w/ thermal imaging, and ground units of the area back in May and June, but suspended activities due to snow accumulations. Since that time the Family of Srawn have been privately funding independent search groups to continue search operations. With the summer months fast approaching the family is hoping that Prabdheep will be located with the aid of experienced mountain searchers from North America.

The Central Okanagan based search group will be dropped off in the Australian mountains for 8 days with their gear and instructions on where to concentrate their efforts. Becker says they aren't sure what, if any, resources will be available to them once dropped off in the mountains.

"Therefore we will be equipped to operate self-sufficiently for the entire trip. Australia has one of the world’s highest concentrations of poisonous snakes and spiders, so it is something we need to be aware of and prepared to deal with in the event of an encounter," says Becker.

Each volunteer member of the team had to coordinate work schedules within the last week in order to bring the team together in time, which is only possible with the support of employers and families, Braun points out.

Becker a West Kelowna Firefighter has the support of Fire Chief Wayne Schnitzler and fellow firefighters who stepped up to help in adapting his holidays to afford him the time to volunteer.

Becker says firefighting is about helping others.

"Volunteering is a major part of the firefighter brotherhood and something we all enjoy and without the support of employers and fellow firefighters it wouldn't be possible."

The group hopes their efforts will help bring closer to the disappearance of Prabdheep Srawn for the family.

The group will be returning on Nov. 17 from their deployment.

Click here to read the last story on the search for Prabdheep.

The reward to find Prabdheep has been increased to $100.000.

More Central Okanagan articles