Central Okanagan Search and Rescue crews at a scene off Postill Lake Road Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 where a skier suffered a suspected spinal injury. (Contributed)

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue crews at a scene off Postill Lake Road Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 where a skier suffered a suspected spinal injury. (Contributed)

Skier with suspected spinal injury rescued from Kelowna backcountry

Two skiers were practicing flips off Postill Lake Road; COSAR called for helicopter rescue

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR) was called to rescue an injured skier in Kelowna’s backcountry on Friday.

Two skiers had built a large jump on Crown land around Postill Lake Road and were practicing flips, according to COSAR spokesperson Ed Henczel.

Henczel said one of the men came up a little short off the 6–8 foot-tall kicker and fell, sustaining suspected spinal injuries. The other skier quickly found cell service and called 911.

As the area was inaccessible to ambulance, COSAR’s helicopter winch rescue team was called into action around 1 p.m. Friday. The helicopter airlifted the patient to an ambulance stationed at the Kelowna International Airport, which then transported him to Kelowna General Hospital.

The team was called out this afternoon to rescue an injured skier. This was the second task of the week with the first…

Posted by Central Okanagan Search & Rescue on Friday, December 18, 2020

This wasn’t the only call out of the week for COSAR.

On Wednesday, teams were called out to help locate a lost Snowshoer near Crystal Mountain on the Westside. COSAR responded alongside a snowmobile from West Kelowna’s Telemark Nordic Club, which eventually reached the woman and escorted her out.

This year has been a busy one for COSAR responding to around 20 per cent more calls than in a typical year.

So far, COSAR has responded to 78 tasks this year, and Henczel expects another half-dozen before 2021. Usually, that number is in the high 50s or low 60s.

Henczel asks people to remember to file a trip plan, get training and carry the “ten essentials.” For more information on what to bring with you when going to the backcountry, visit adventuresmart.ca.

With files from Phil McLachlan

READ MORE: Six Kelowna flights exposed to COVID-19 through December

READ MORE: Environment Canada issues snowfall warning for southern Interior

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


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