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A man whose truck got stuck in the snow west of Kelowna, B.C., needed to be rescued by an RCMP helicopter.

Rescuers say the man was unharmed but the situation could have ended much worse and they are warning of a growing trend of drivers relying on online maps to navigate forest service roads.

Mounties say in a statement that the man was exploring the backcountry on Tuesday near the Brenda Lake recreation area when his new four-by-four truck became stuck in the snow and he called 911.

Police say after the driver couldn’t provide his co-ordinates, and attempts to pinpoint his cellphone were unsuccessful, the Kelowna RCMP helicopter and the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue were sent to assist.

After locating the truck by air, the pilots landed in a clearing and hiked about 500 metres to rescue the driver and fly him out safely.

The statement says search and rescue officials have seen “a noticeable increasing trend” of motorists relying on online maps to navigate forest service roads, but those can be inaccurate and are not updated with the current road conditions.

It says drivers in the backcountry should be aware that most forest service roads are not maintained and are impassable by standard vehicles during the winter months.

“This is a strong reminder to be fully equipped and prepared when travelling into the backcountry,” RCMP Const. Mike Della-Paolera said.

“Our community is fortunate that we have specialized resources from Kelowna RCMP Air Services and the many volunteers with (search and rescue) that are able to assist in rescue in situations like this, otherwise this story could have ended very differently.”

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