A 64-year-old Peachland man was found deceased on a snowshoe trail on Dec. 27, after West Kelowna RCMP and the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR) responded to a complaint.
The rescue was initiated by a cell phone call from a relative concerned since the man was overdue to return back home.
RCMP called for the assistance of the local Search and Rescue, who located the man, dead just after 11:30 p.m. on a lesser travelled trail.
“Criminality is not suspected in the man’s death. The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation to determine all the facts surrounding the death,” Janelle Shoihet, media relations officer for the BC RCMP stated in a press release.
COSAR search manager for the rescue, Brian Stainsby said they got the first call after 7 p.m. and by 8 p.m. three snowshoe teams were en route and supported by two snowmobiles.
The man did not leave a trip plan or a precise location, which presented as one of the challenges. Especially since there are over 50 kilometres of snowshoe trails at the nordic club. Teams began searching in locations they might expect to find people travel and later located the man, who was deceased.
“Despite the challenges and heavy snowfall, we were still able to find the subject in less than two hours,” Stainsby explained. “I’ve been with search and rescue for close to 20 years and the team members that we had on this call. I’m so incredibly proud of them in terms of their professionalism and effectiveness.”
After performing CPR and other life-saving measures, it was concluded for the paramedics to stop and return the man to base.
“There’s really not that much that we could’ve been able, frankly, there was absolutely nothing that we did or didn’t do that would’ve had any impact on the outcome.”
While the man was well prepared for the trip with extra food, layers and water, other unchangeable circumstances came into account for his passing.
“It was defined before we had received the call. My understanding was he was out for the afternoon and was expected back by dark, so we’re guessing that he likely passed sometime before 4:30 p.m.,” Stainsby said.
COSAR would like to remind adventurers to always dress for a potential change in the weather and file a trip plan. If you change your destination, text someone or leave a note on your vehicle. That way, if you get in trouble and need assistance, help can arrive sooner.
For more on how to file a trip plan, go to Adventuresmart.ca
Neither police nor the BC Coroners Service will be identifying the man, and no further information is available.