A total of 15 people were transported down the mountain after getting stuck near Becker Lake in Lavington Sunday, Feb. 7 by Vernon Search and Rescue and RCMP. (VSAR photo)

15 people rescued off mountain in Lavington

Icy road had Vernon Search and Rescue and RCMP working until the wee hours of the morning

Several teens stuck up an icy mountain road created a chain of failed rescue attempts until the professionals were called in.

Youth in different vehicles had driven up the slick Lavington road near Becker Lake Sunday, Feb. 7.

“They called friends to help get them, who then became stuck themselves on their way to assist,” Vernon Search and Rescue (VSAR) said. “Then a number of parents were called to assist as well, only to become stuck too.

“Conditions had changed throughout the day and into the evening, and as the temperature fell the difficult, icy road conditions worsened. With temperatures quickly dropping overnight, the urgency of reaching the people was increasing.”

By the evening, RCMP and VSAR were called and by 1 a.m. Monday rescued a total of 15 people off the mountain.

“One by one, search and rescue members came across immobile vehicles strung along the mountain road. A relay system was created to shuttle the subjects down the mountain, as there was only a single lane available.”

Stationed at the Noble Canyon turnoff off Highway 6, search teams used snowmobiles and UTV vehicles to traverse the icy mountain.

VSAR is using the incident as an opportunity to educate outdoor enthusiasts:

  • Search and Rescue teams are free to use and can be mobilized quickly simply by calling 911. In many cases such as this, if the call had been made sooner in the day the search and rescue mission may have been accomplished much easier and finished much sooner as well.
  • SAR volunteers are dedicated members of the community, and train hard to be prepared to respond to all manner of emergencies and situations. From “just getting stuck” to a medical emergency, people should know that it’s perfectly OK to call for help when they are in trouble, or if conditions or situations are worsening.
  • People using the back roads and wilderness areas should be prepared to stay overnight in case of accidents. Cellphones and other communication devices don’t always work when they are needed. By thinking ahead and being prepared for emergencies, incidents like these can be downgraded from a potentially dangerous situation to an uncomfortable inconvenience. An excellent source of information and planning tips can be found at www.AdventureSmart.ca.

READ MORE: North Okanagan public safety, environmental groups get government grants

READ MORE: Goose cull on target for Vernon


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