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

Two monumental poles return home to Haida Gwaii

The artifacts ended up in Vancouver by being taken, appropriated, stolen, or sold through the years

Northern B.C.’s Ridley coal terminal sold, Canada divests, First Nations to own portion

Ten per cent of shares transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation

Haida artist Derek Edenshaw helps Rupert spruce up city

A giant kraken, painted by local artists under Edenshaw’s tutelage, is now on display

Haida Gwaii teacher denied paid bereavement travel leave

Arbitrator sides with B.C. Teachers Federation in dispute over funeral trip

Skeena mainstem closed to recreational sockeye

Escapements expected to be below 800,000 threshold

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

Most Read