December 24, 2021 – 9:20 a.m.
Three years ago, snowmobilers Andrew MacLeod and TJ Dumonceaux were rescued by a search and rescue group. Today, December 24, they paid it off by donating $ 15,000 to Central Okanagan Search and Rescue.
In 2018, the two Kelowna residents tested rental snowmobiles near Revelstoke when they ran out of gas and decided to head back to the trailhead, according to a press release from Central Okanagan Search and Rescue. However, the fog had enveloped the mountain and somewhere in the whiteout they missed a turn, fell into a ravine and got stuck.
READ MORE: Missing snowmobilers found alive in mountain near Revelstoke, BC
As night fell and with all their change of clothes soaked from a broken water bottle, they dug a shelter in a tree well and lined it with branches. The sweat from digging in the snow, combined with the condensation of their breath, made everything they wore damp, so Dumonceaux set his alarm every 15 minutes so they didn’t fall asleep in hypothermia.
“I’ve never been so cold in my life,” MacLeod said in the release.
When the sun rose around 7 a.m., it was still foggy, so the couple started to walk. It was slow in waist-deep snow and they were walking less than a minute before they had to stop to rest.
“It was so cold that I couldn’t use my hands,” Dumonceaux said in the statement.
Dehydrated and severely hypothermic, the two men began to look for another place to spend the night when they heard snowmobiles.
Dumonceaux set off a flare and a few minutes later, members of the Revelstoke search and rescue snowmobile team arrived.
Hot soup, dry clothes, and a heated UTV brought the two back safely to the trailhead.
Through their companies, TJ & Steph Real Estate Group and The Co-Operators: Solve Insurance Service Inc., both thank the search and rescue volunteers.
They donated the money to their local volunteer organization due to the increased number of snowmobilers enjoying the Greystokes Snowmobile Zone and the huge increase in calls COSAR has faced this year.
“We are extremely grateful for the donation,” COSAR President Brad Trites said in the statement. “This money will be used for snowmobile and avalanche training for the team. We are helping with all of the regional search and rescue groups, including Vernon, Shuswap and Revelstoke, and this donation will benefit them as much as it will benefit us.
So far in 2021, COSAR has had 103 calls, a record number of incidents.
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