Campbell River Search and Rescue (SAR) took part in a team effort on New Year’s Day to extract an injured skier recreating near Mount Cain on Vancouver Island. At around 2:30 pm, reports came out that a skier was injured on Mount Cain.
“The hoist team from CRSAR was available to make the rescue,” said SAR contact search manager Daryl Beck. “Daylight was the issue. The window was too small.”
In what was no simple task, as the North Shore Search and Rescue (NSR) came to assist Campbell River SAR with Talon helicopters. The pilot, hoist operator, ER physician, and two trained hoist techs were all on hand to rescue the skier.
“We radioed for mutual aid,” explained Beck. “North Shore was available, and they are able to make night operations. We have applied for this, but are unavailable to do so at this time.”
At approximately 7 p.m., NSR converged onto the Mount Cain Parking lot. With cloud cover and high winds, the weather presented a challenge. Beck said the injured party, a young woman, had a big assist on the top of the skiing mountain.
“Fortunately, the injured young lady’s co-skier was a nurse. She was there to administer aid right away,” said Beck, who added that ski patrol members are not mandated to perform their tasks out of bounds, as the patient had drifted off course.
Waiting for a weather window, the ski patrol members spent 20 minutes accessing the area and radioed from the scene that the clouds had dispersed.
Flying to the top with minimal equipment (one hoist operator and one tech) due to downdrafts within the area, the techs inserted and packaged the patient in the Cascade rescue bag. Mt. Cain Ski patrol who had been the first to arrive on scene and administer first aid, placed the female on a vacuum spine board.
“Heat pads were also available to administer,” Beck said. “They were available to keep the patient warm in lieu of the dropping temperatures on the mountain.”
The subject was extracted and brought back to the Mt. Cain parking lot where she was assessed by NSR’s ER physician and then placed in the care of the BCEHS ambulance.
“It was great working with North shore. We were texting each other as to the progress,” said Beck. “It was an overall team effort.”