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A search and rescue team in the north Okanagan was called out early Saturday morning to rescue a pair of people who had not returned from a day hike the day before.
According to the Vernon Search and Rescue (VSAR) group, the two hikers set out at about 4 pm for what was thought to be just a day hike.
However, they did not return as planned and 22 VSAR members, including ground searchers on snowshoes and a four member sled team, were called out to locate the group.
The pair had headed out on hiking trails east of Vernon.
“When we arrived on scene we learnt a third person and a dog were also missing,” says VSAR.
“Due to the nature of the terrain, the continued winter conditions and the distance needed to hike to the still snowed in trailhead, we elected to bring in a helicopter for safety.”
VSAR says that, although it may seem like spring in the valley bottom, avalanche conditions are still being recorded in the mountains of the north Okanagan and BC Interior.
However, it is that time of year when the conditions are beginning to transition. Search and rescue volunteers had to make their way through mud, snow, slush and steep terrain to locate the subjects on Saturday.
Fortunately, the helicopter crew spotted some smoke, which led them to the missing group. No injuries were reported and everyone was returned to the team’s staging area.
VSAR remind everyone to plan out their trips, bring extra clothing and equipment if they are headed out into the backcountry this spring.