Emergency personnel inside the cave at the Skaha Bluffs where a woman fell an estimated 60 feet on Monday. Submitted photo

B.C. climber injured at Skaha Bluffs rescued after seven hours

A woman fell approximately 60 feet into a cave at the South Okanagan provincial park near Penticton

Due to the challenging nature of the terrain, it took rescuers over seven hours to extract a Lower Mainland woman who fell 60-feet while inside a cave at the Skaha Bluffs climbing area on Monday.

The 50 year old female, who was brought to the surface at 7 p.m., is now at Kelowna General Hospital being treated for severe head and upper body injuries.

Related: Injured woman rescued from cave at Skaha Bluffs

“This was a complex event with lots of logistics and moving parts, however, everyone had their eye on the objective and the teamwork was seamless,” said Randy Brown, Penticton and District Search and Rescue manager.

Related: Zoning process is first step to creating Skaha Bluffs rec area

Up to 50 rescue personnel, from around the province, were assisting with the rescue. That includes cave rescue experts from Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and the Interior who were flown into Penticton by the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA).

“All cave events are a challenge and complex especially when working in confined spaces as you have low visibility, unstable rock and then you add an injured subject to the mix and everything gets more complicated,” said Doug Munroe, co-ordinator for Alberta/B.C. Cave Rescue.

Penticton and District Search and Rescue were alerted around 11:36 a.m. that the woman had fallen while climbing at the popular area located just on the outskirts of the Penticton city limits, at the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park.

Brown said early reports indicated that the female subject was inside the cave when she suffered the 25-foot fall. Two other friends who were with the subject were able to climb out and call 911. While PENSAR was co-ordinating an air response local RCMP and Penticton Fire Department crews attended to the rescue area.

Related: Penticton SAR extracts Skaha Bluffs climber with head injury

“By 1 p.m. search and rescue on scene determined that the subject was about 60-feet inside the cave structure and, due to the complexity of the incident, immediately requested the assistance of the B.C./Alberta Cave Rescue Team,” said Brown.

While awaiting cave rescue experts, 20 members of the Penticton search and rescue team along with four Penticton fire/rescue service members began preparing the rescue site with ropes, stretchers and medical equipment while maintaining communication with the subject. By 3 p.m. the first of the cave rescuers had arrived, and three hours later, with over 25 personnel on scene, the slow but challenging extraction out of the cave began. Brown said the woman was brought to the surface by 7 p.m. and was transferred to a stretcher and airlifted out of the area by a search and rescue helicopter long-line team to a nearby ambulance.

The woman was taken to Penticton Regional Hospital then, due to the extent of her injuries, to the Kelowna for further treatment.

Local resources used to rescue the woman included 22 Penticton and District Search and Rescue members, several volunteer CASARA aircraft and pilots, 14 cave rescue personnel (and another dozen en-route before being stood down), four Penticton fire/rescue, local RCMP and two local helicopter companies.

“A joint effort that had a successful conclusion,” said Brown.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Kristi Patton | Editor

KristiPatton

Send Kristi Patton an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Young Chilliwack singer launches career with French classic

Deanne Ratzlaff performs as featured vocalist in La Vie en Rose in Chilliwack, London and Paris

The most h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s spelling bee you’ll ever see in Chilliwack

Secondary Characters Musical Theatre hits the stage with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Hang gliding video gives stunning view of Harrison and Fraser river confluence

Aerial view shows striking difference between two rivers as they meet

RCMP use helicopter and police dog to search for suspect on Sts’ailes First Nation

Man known to police fled an allegedly stolen vehicle and firearm on the reserve north of Chilliwack

Stay safe on the rivers of Chilliwack and don’t become a statistic, says swift water expert

Chilliwack Search and Rescue is putting out a safety message just in time for the summer season

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read