Stories of chaos following the Trump rally in Kelowna are reportedly exaggerated

The mass takeoff from the MAGA rally at Eppley Airfield resulted in long journeys home on Tuesday evening, but not in the way many social media – and even Joe Biden himself – suggest.

According to the Kelowna Police Department, around 25,000 people attended the rally at Eppley Airfield on Tuesday evening. Many people on social media posts said some attendees were stranded in freezing weather for hours after the president left, but reports from the Kelowna authorities suggest otherwise. The buses supplied the rally participants from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. At around 6 p.m., OPD reported that the event was at full capacity.

Around 8 p.m., President Trump arrived at the Make Tac Great Again Victory Rally, hosted by Tac Air and organized by the White House and the Trump campaign. When the rally was over around 9 p.m., “people flocked to the waiting buses,” and many of them chose to get back to their vehicles, OPD said.

The Kelowna Airport Authority said the Trump campaign hired 40 buses to transport people from remote parking lots to the venue and operated them for 10 hours. The bus company confirmed these drivers have been paid on Wednesday and dumped another fake rumor spread on social media.

OPD said additional Metro Area Transit buses were called in after the event to take people away from the rally. Transportation from the grounds to the parking lots began immediately after the event, an OAA spokesman said, but many people chose to forego waiting for a bus ride and get back to their vehicles. OPD said the shortest route back to a parking lot was 2.5 miles and that “pedestrian traffic on Lindberg Drive slowed bus traffic and significantly delayed bus travel”.

Officers also gave rides to elderly and disabled participants as they could, the spokesman said.

The weather station at the airport recorded the temperature on Tuesday at 8:52 p.m. with 34 degrees and a wind chill of 27 degrees. With the same wind chill, the temperature dropped to 33 degrees at 11:52 p.m. and continued to fall to around 25 degrees and a wind chill of 16 degrees until 5:52 a.m. on Wednesday. The last person to leave the rally site on the bus was on board at 11:50 p.m., and pedestrian and vehicle traffic returned to normal by 12:30 p.m., OPD said.

According to authorities, between five and seven people with various illnesses were picked up from the MAGA rally on Tuesday evening. Others in need of medical help were “contacted by medical professionals not only at the end of the event, but also for the duration of the event,” said the OPD spokesman.

Some media reports, based on preliminary, unverified information, sparked an outcry from local Democrats. Biden also spoke about the events in Kelowna while fighting in Delaware on Wednesday.

“Just look at what happened in Kelowna after Trump last night – after the Trump rally ended. Hundreds of people, including elderly Americans and children, were stranded in freezing temperatures for hours. Several people ended up in the hospital. It’s a picture that captured Trump’s entire approach to this crisis. He takes a lot of big declarations and he makes a lot of big declarations, but they don’t stand up. He gets his photo op and then he gets out. He leaves it to everyone else to suffer the consequence of failing to create a responsible plan. It seems like he just doesn’t care that much and the longer he’s in command, the more reckless he becomes. It’s enough, it’s time to change. “Former Vice President Joe Biden

Full response from the Kelowna Police

According to a preliminary report, 30 people were contacted for medical reasons and a total of 7 people were transported to hospitals in the area with various medical conditions. Those in need of medical assistance were contacted by medical professionals for the duration of the event, not just at the end. The Eppley Airport Fire Department can better record the total number of medical contacts, reasons and times. Over a period of 10 hours, around 25,000 people were loaded with buses and brought to the venue. The buses left at 10:00 a.m. and continued until the start of the rally at 8:00 p.m. A total of 40 buses were used for the event. Law enforcement helped local people who wanted to leave before the rally ended or who couldn’t make it on buses. When the speech ended around 9 p.m., people flocked to the waiting buses. There were buses specially designed for the disabled. Law enforcement made buses a priority for the outbound event. Additional buses have been requested from Metro Area Transit to assist with the departure and get people back to their cars. Many people chose to return to the parking lots instead of waiting for a bus. The shortest way to the next parking lot was about 4 km. Pedestrian traffic on Lindberg Drive slowed down bus traffic and significantly delayed bus journeys. There were an abundance of uniformed officers in marked cars and on foot trying to direct traffic to ease the congestion. The officers helped ride elderly and frail people who chose to walk. Many people underestimated the walking distance from the event back to the parking lot. The last person was loaded onto a bus from the assembly area at around 11:50 p.m. Uniformed officers from various departments stayed until all lots were cleared and helped numerous people find cars parked in the area. Vehicle and pedestrian traffic returned to normal around 12:30 p.m.

Full answer from the Kelowna Airport Authority

The campaign event hosted by TAC Air was planned and coordinated by the White House and the Trump campaign. This event coordination included the transport of the participants by bus, as there were not enough parking spaces on the event site for an event of this size. The Trump campaign rented 40 buses to transport attendees from remote parking spaces at and from the airport to and from the venue. Transportation to the venue began at around 10:00 AM with an estimated 25,000 participants being transported to the venue within 10 hours. The transport of the participants back to the remote parking lots began immediately after the end of the event at around 9:03 p.m. Due to the size of the crowd and the security requirements, the return transport took some time. Some attendees chose to walk back to the secluded parking lots from the venue along Lindbergh Plaza. The buses picked up the last participants from the venue around 11:45 p.m. During the entire duration of the event, six people were taken to local hospitals by paramedics due to various illnesses.

(Photo by Getty Images)

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