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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CRD gives temporary use permit for mud racing

Applicants had originally searched for rezoning

Grants for assistance extinguished for independent fire departments within Cariboo Regional District

Ten fire departments will be impacted, CRD-funded and managed fire departments will not be impacted

Bighorn sheep undergoing COVID-like test

‘If only the bighorn sheep knew to socially-distance from their domestic cousins’

Dynamic Reforestation tree planters donate $8,400 to Cariboo food banks

‘Right now I have almost 90 workers in the 100 Mile District’

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe comapaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Most Read