Updated: Oct 1, 2022
Three visitors to the Okanagan have a new respect for Mother Nature and a new appreciation for Vernon Search and Recue.
On Tuesday August 23 2022 the three were on Okanagan Lake riding an inflatable device when gusts of wind blew the craft into the middle of the lake.
Having only small paddles and no lifejackets. they were not prepared for the situation .
Luckily, one of the group had a cell phone and was able to contact authorities.
According to VSAR's Coralie Nairn “They were very fortunate”
Vernon SAR responded to the emergency about 9:30 Tuesday evening. The operation took a couple of hours.
The "boaters" were returned to where their adventure started, a campground/beach on the West side of Okanagan lake.
Storm cells had passed through the Okanagan Valley the day before the rescue prompting a weather alert from Environment Canada.
There was no weather alert August 23rd but the storm could be seen building for several hours.
The storm cells brought Lightning, rain and winds estimated at 35kph to the area.
Vernon Search and Rescue has been in operation since 1960. VSAR has about 60 members and volunteers that contribute over 6000 hours of their time.
VSAR responds to 60-80 calls annually as well as assisting other SAR in the area.
VSAR capabilities include snowmobile, rope, boat, swift water, ice, ground search, off-road vehicle, mountain bike, and helicopter rescues. VSAR was the unit that championed and then piloted the development of the Helicopter Winch Rescue program for volunteer ground SAR in all of Canada.