Three years ago a pair of snowmobilers received the ultimate gift and now they are paying it forward.
Andrew MacLeod and TJ Dumonceaux were saved by search and rescue after a backcountry incident that nearly cost them their lives.
The pair donated $15,000 to the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR) team to show their gratitude and because of the increased number of local sledders and the increase in calls that COSAR has responded to this year. As of Dec. 24, COSAR has responded to 103 callouts this year.
In 2018 the two snowmobilers got lost in a whiteout and ended up stuck in a ravine. Unable to get back, they built shelter in a tree-well and hunkered down in the snow for the night.
“I’ve never been so cold in my life,” said MacLeod.
After a freezing and sleepless night, the pair set out on foot. MacLeod and Dumonceaux’s travel was exhaustingly slow as they trudged through deep snow and heavy fog.
Dehydrated and severely hypothermic, the two began to look for a place to spend the night when they heard snow bikes. Dumonceaux set off a flare and minutes later the Revelstoke Search and Rescue snowbike team arrived.
The two survivors are donating through their companies, TJ & Steph Real Estate Group, and The Co-Operators: Solve Insurance Service Inc.
“We are extremely grateful for the donation,” said COSAR president Brad Trites, “this money will go towards snowmobile and avalanche training for the team. We do mutual aid with all the regional search and rescue groups, including Vernon, Shuswap, and Revelstoke, and this donation will benefit them as much as it will benefit us.”
For more information or to donate to COSAR, visitCosar.ca.