COSAR says this is one of the worst years for drownings in BC

Bad year for BC drownings

The Central Okanagan Search and Rescue team are breathing a sigh of relief after making it through another long weekend.

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue crews were kept hopping throughout the BC Day long weekend after being called in to assist with three incidents – including two within minutes of each other.

Duane Tresnich, COSAR Search Manager says he was actually thinking it could have been busier.

"I was expecting fire evacuations depending on which way the wind was blowing. At that time I had teams on the water searching for the cliff diver, and then an ATV incident we were trying to get to before dark. It was a little bit of chaos over a period of a couple of hours."

Tresnich says he hasn't had a long weekend off in years, "we're on call 24/7" but he says this one of the worst years for drownings he's seen in a long time.

"For B.C. this year, there's been a heck of a lot of drownings, especially young males. One of the worst years I've come across."

Tresnich says he couldn't guess why, but said "with COVID-19 and everyone getting out and doing things we've been finding people aren't as prepared or as fit as they were before this all started."

Some people haven't been as active as they may have been prior to COVID-19 and Tresnich reminds everyone, "don't overestimate your ability."

You may not be able to swim to the floating dock or your friend's boat in the water and when it comes to cliff diving specifically.

"I know people enjoy cliff diving but dive within your ability."
Wildfires also obviously complicate search and rescue situations.

One of the best ways to get help if you're lost is to build a search fire, "don't be afraid to start a fire because that's one of the ways we can find them."

Just make sure the fire doesn't get away and go on to spark a wildfire, making the situation more dangerous.

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