Shuswap Search and Rescue volunteers organize at the Owlhead snowmobile area trailhead. (John Schut)

Missing sledders found safe after overnight stay on Owlhead

Search effort delayed by harsh winter weather, avalanche conditions

  • Jan. 29, 2018 12:00 a.m.

An RCMP helicopter was a happy sight for a couple of sledders Monday morning after spending the night on Owlhead.

At 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 28, Shuswap Search and Rescue received a report of two Albertan snowmobilers who had been missing on the mountain since earlier that afternoon.

Search manager John Schut said the men had become separated from the group they were with. However, the severe winter weather and avalanche conditions meant the search wouldn’t commence until the following morning, after an avalanche technician determined it was safe.

A search party went up on snowmobiles but only made it as far as the Owlhead cabin, as it was unsafe to go any further.

Meanwhile, an RCMP helicopter with an avalanche technican and a member of the local snowmobile club conducted a search by air. It was followed by a second chopper with a Vernon Search and Rescue winch team onboard.

“It was pretty iffy whether the helicopters were going to be able to get in there and look for them. It could have been we wouldnt have been able to go in and look for them with the high avalanche risk…,” said Schut. “But there was a window where the helicopter was able to come in and search. The found them and the second helicopter picked them up.”

It was learned the missing sledders had become stuck in a ravine. They were found to be safe and have since been transported off the mountain.

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