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Stranded Snowmobiler thanks SAR Teams and shares experience on Facebook Post

A weary sledder offer his thanks to Search and Rescue Teams from Penticton and Oliver Osoyoos after being found late Monday evening. The snowmobiler was found around 11:00 PM by search teams after he was last see at 3:00 P.M. in the Allendale Lake area.

SAR Teams responded Monday evening February 9, 2016 after being alerted by RCMP that a snowmobilier who had gone out for a short ride in the Allendale Lake Recreation Area in the afternoon and was now overdue by some 6 hours. SAR Teams responded with 26 volunteers and located the stranded Snowmobiler by 11:00 P.M. After thanking the SAR volunteers the sledder posted this following notice on Facebook.

“Well, as a few of you may know, I was left stranded in the woods near Allandale lake last Monday night.I was found by Both Oliver/Osoyoos Search and Rescue and Penticton & District Search & Rescue . I cannot express enough respect, admiration and thanks to these SAR organizations that helped me get my sled turned around out of the bush that night.I was out for a quick little snowmobile blast on the trails around the lake as my father and I were there to do some ice fishing. The trail I chose had deep snow and although it looked compacted enough, it wasn’t. In an attempt at turning the sled around to come back out I got stuck. 2.5 hours later I am unstuck but still pointed in the wrong direction. I’d gone further along the trail to see if the trail opened up enough to turn around. It did not.I stopped and decided that I would need to start building shelter/platform from the snow and get a fire going immediately as I was running out of daylight, and I figured I was definitely there for the whole night.

I was happy to have a sharp axe with me and firestarter. I came to realize soon after building my bed of boughs that staying on the sleds insulated seat was a better way to stay warm than the boughs I had cut for my platform. Also, running the sled for a few moments at a time every once and awhile provided enough warmth to stay comfortable so, I abandoned fire making altogether.

The fire was a difficult endeavor as I needed to keep the supply of firewood steady which was only small twigs gathered from the evergreens around me. There isn’t a lot of firewood available in four to five feet of snow. You may be surprised though, of how much heat comes off a small fire.

Having done the prep I needed to do, I was confident in my ability to survive my situation and the only real concern I had was the hard work I was going to have to expend in getting the sled turned around in the deep snow.

All in all, the ordeal lasted about seven hours. Not to bad.

As you can imagine I was happy to hear the high pitch whine of other snowmobiles heading my way much earlier than I thought would happen, as I truly thought I’d be there until at least the next day.

So, what did I learn?

1. No such thing as a “quick trip” into the woods. ALWAYS BE PREPARED TO SPEND THE NIGHT.

2. Snow shoes would have simply made the whole ordeal non existent. I was only a kilometer or so in the bush. With such deep snow however, might as well been 100k. I’ll tie snowshoes to the sled for future trips.

3. Wear wool, Even wet, wool retains 80% of its insulating qualities. I was dressed for the weather and that made a lot of difference.

4. When you are doing ok in the bush despite your situation, It is a lot harder on your loved ones that it is on you. The outpouring of emotion from those around me was quite overwhelming and intense and I felt very bad for putting them through the ordeal.

5. It’s important to go outside and play, and to know that there are inherent risks in doing so. I was somewhat prepared, but the experience proves to me that I need to make a few adjustments. I am happy to know this.

6. Snowmobiles are still awesome amounts of fun.

Warren Neily

All we can say is – thank you Warren Neily.

SAR Manager Richard Terry advised that Neily was found to be in good condition considering being out in the cold for over 7 hours. “ We were happy the individual decided to stay with his machine and not wander off. Although conditions were cold it was were prefect for this type of operation to take place.

Randy Brown Public Information Officer – Penticton and District

Search and Rescue


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