COSAR and West Kelowna Fire Department personnel prepare to raise two stranded men up over the lip of a canyon off Westside Road. (David Crawford/Facebook)

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue volunteers pull stranded men from canyon

The two teenagers were washed down a creek onto a ledge they couldn’t escape from

The Central Okanagan Search and Rescue team saved a pair of young men who were washed into an inescapable position by a waterfall.

According to Duane Tresnich, a search manager with the rescue group, they received the call around 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28. Two men, aged 17 and 18, were stranded in a canyon near the Canyon Rim Trail on Westside Road. They had hiked down to a nearby waterfall to drink water and swim, but shortly after getting in the water they were washed a few metres downstream into a position where they couldn’t climb back up to the top of the canyon.

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An emergency call was made and the RCMP requested assistance from search and rescue.

The men were left sitting on a ledge just above the water and over 90 metres below the rim of the canyon. At First COSAR attempted to lift the stranded men out of the canyon using a helicopter and winch system, but Tresnich said this plan had to be abandoned due to the fading daylight.

The West Kelowna Fire Department’s technical rescue team was called in and assisted the COSAR team in getting the men off the ledge and up the 90-metre cliff using ropes.

“This was a very technical rescue which took over five hours to complete and needed the combined teams to work together for this very successful outcome,” Tresnich stated.

The men were out of the canyon and turned over to their parents by 1 a.m. Neither was injured.

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jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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