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Two teenagers were rescued from Bear Creek Canyon Friday night

Mother grateful for rescuers

UPDATE: 1:05 p.m.

“Of course, the last words [I said] to them leaving was: 'Stay on the path and be safe.'”

A local mother is extremely grateful for the hard work of Central Okanagan Search and Rescue and West Kelowna Fire Rescue crews after they rescued her son and his friend from the bottom of a 300-foot canyon Friday night. 

Kimberley dropped the two teenagers at the Bear Creek Canyon Rim Trail in the afternoon, as they planned to go swimming at a pool at the base of a waterfall, just off the trail. 

“I guess they ran into someone who's up there all the time, who told them about two waterfalls that were up higher, and if they went up there they could jump into them, and there's a rope that they could get up," Kimberley said. "They jumped first and looked [for the rope] after.

“There was a rope there but it was really slimy, just pure slime, so they just couldn't get out. They found that little cave ... and that's where they sat.”

COSAR crews arrived at about 7 p.m., and due to the rapidly fading light, a helicopter couldn't be used in the rescue. 

“Apparently they couldn't have got themselves in a worst spot, that's what every mom wants to hear," Kimberley said. “They were just wearing their shorts, some slides. Everything else was soaking wet. They were freezing, they were hungry.”

The whole rescue took more than five hours, until finally, 14 COSAR volunteers, along with nine firefighters, helped pull the teens out of the canyon, using a rope system. 

"We were incredibly nervous. The crew was phenomenal ... they were very calm and very reassuring.," she said. “It just helped make me feel a lot more at ease.”

Both Kimberley, and the family of the other teen involved, are making donations to COSAR Saturday, as a thank you for the crews' hard work. 

“We can't thank them enough," Kimberley said. 


UPDATE: 9:45 a.m.

It took crews more than five hours to rescue two teenagers who became stuck in the Bear Creek Canyon after going for a swim Friday night.

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue crews, along with West Kelowna Fire Rescue, were called out to the Bear Creek Canyon Rim Trail, after two teenagers, 17 and 18, found themselves stuck.

“They decided to climb down the canyon rim to one of the waterfalls to get a drink of water and go for a swim,” said Duane Tresnich, COSAR search manager. “Once they got in the water and swam around, they were carried a few meters downstream and put them in a position that they could not climb back up.”

While COSAR first tried to rescue the teens using a helicopter and their rescue winch system, they quickly lost the light, which made a helicopter rescue impossible.

“COSAR then requested assistance of the West Kelowna Fire Department technical rescue team and together we worked on removing the males from the ledge and brought them up the 300-foot cliff,” Tresnich said.

“This was a very technical rescue which took over five hours to complete and needed the combine teams to work together for this very successful outcome."

Fourteen COSAR members and nine firefighters were involved in the rescue. 

The teens, who were uninjured, were rescued and turned over to their parents by 1 a.m.


ORIGINAL: 8:30 a.m.

While the Kelowna Fire Department was kept busy overnight, so were fire crews on the other side of the lake.

Friday night, West Kelowna Fire Rescue responded to the Bear Creek Canyon area after two men became trapped.

“Crews hiked into their location and worked alongside Central Okanagan Search and Rescue to locate the patients and perform the rescue from a steep canyon,” said Jason Brolund, chief of West Kelowna Fire Rescue.

“The patients were uninjured but required rescue from a difficult location, in the dark.”

Using a rope system, nine firefighters helped perform the high-angle rescue and got the men out of the canyon.

The men were wet and cold, but “in good health.” Just after 1 a.m., they were turned over to paramedics for assessment.

Earlier that evening, West Kelowna Fire Rescue responded to the upper end of Bartley Road, where a motorcyclist had crashed and injured their ankle.

Firefighters used their UTV off-road vehicle to reach the area, and transported the person to an ambulance. The injured person was then taken to hospital for treatment.

Brolund says crews also responded to several other incidents overnight, including a natural gas leak, carbon monoxide alarm and smoke alarm activation in the Westbank area.



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