A Kelowna man had to be rescued by helicopter after his truck got stuck in the snow, stranding him in the backcountry.
Rescuers say the man was unharmed but the situation could have ended much worse and they are warning of a growing trend of drivers relying on online maps to navigate forest service roads.
The man bad been driving on forest service roads near the Brenda Lake Recreation area, off Highway 97C west of Kelowna, on Nov. 21, when his new 4x4 truck got stuck in the snow.
He called the RCMP but was unable to provide his coordinates and attempts from emergency services to pinpoint his cell phone were unsuccessful.
The Kelowna RCMP Air Services helicopter and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR) came together to find the man.
After locating the truck by air, the pilots of the Air 4 helicopter landed in a safe clearing. They then hiked approximately 500m to rescue the driver and fly him out safely without injury.
“This is a strong reminder to be fully equipped and prepared when travelling into the backcountry,” said Cst. Mike Della-Paolera, Media Relations Officer with the Kelowna RCMP.
“Our community is fortunate that we have specialized resources from Kelowna RCMP Air Services and the many volunteers with COSAR that are able to assist in rescue in situations like this, otherwise this story could have ended very differently.”
The statement says search and rescue officials have seen “a noticeable increasing trend” of motorists relying on online maps to navigate forest service roads, but those can be inaccurate and are not updated with the current road conditions.
The RCMP and COSAR would like to remind motorists going into the backcountry that most forest service roads are not maintained and are impassable by road intended vehicles during the winter months.
According to COSAR, there is a noticeable increasing trend of motorists relying on online maps as a way to navigate forest service roads. These maps can sometimes be inaccurate and are not updated with the current road conditions.
If you do wish to travel on the back country, visit adventuresmart.ca and fill out a trip plan. “It could save your life,” said Della-Paolera.