Busy Labour Day weekend for PENSAR


PENSAR’s on duty SAR manager Kelvin Hall has had an exceptionally long busy weekend with 5 requests from RCMP and BC Emergency Health Services.

Hall who is one of the PENSAR’s 5 volunteer managers says he signed on Thursday evening for his seven day rotation as on-call manager and had a suspicion it might be busy, but never expected to see five requests from RCMP and BCEHS.

Hall advised the tasks started at 8:00am on Friday morning with a call from BCEHS to evacuate a seriously injured Para-glider in the hills above Hedley. 

PENSAR’s helicopter (HETS – long line team) was dispatched to the scene along with a ground team. Due to the reported serious nature of the subject's injuries BCEHS dispatched their Kamloops Helicopter Team (Bravo -370) to the scene as well. PENSAR crews located the subject, provided basic first aid, packaged the subject and then airlifted the subject off the slope to the awaiting EHS aircraft.  The subject was then flown to Kelowna General Hospital for treatment.

Next up was a series of three rescue tasks on Saturday where both air and ground assets were deployed.

The first call came in at 11:30am to evacuate an injured ATV rider in the Tulameen area, north of Princeton and then later in the afternoon the PENSAR aircrews received a request from Central Okanagan SAR to assist in the rescue of another injured ATV rider in the Bear Creek area. 

Between these two calls, Penticton RCMP requested PENSAR’s assistance to investigate the report of a vehicle off highway 97 down the bank just south of Penticton.  The helicopter crew returning from Tulameen event were in the vicinity and were able locate the vehicle, however no occupants were inside.

Next up, Monday at 10:10am PENSAR launched a Helicopter Team into the Cathedral Provincial Park after police had received a distress beacon coming from the Matriarch Mountain area. PENSAR crews located two hikers in the area who were suffering from hypothermia and lack of supplies. The subjects were evacuated out of the area and taken by BCEHS personnel from Keremeos, who had staged near Highway 3 and the Ashinola roadway.

Five tasks in over four days are above average for PENSAR, which has responded to fifty-five tasks already this year.  That is above average for the team. 

SAR Teams across BC are experiencing elevated levels of calls for service this year.