Helicopter hoists hurt hiker to safety in Nile Creek

Helicopter hoists hurt hiker to safety in Nile Creek
WatchThe woman fell 10 metres into the creek bed suffering serious injuries so Arrowsmith SAR elected to have her flown out

Hiking Nile Creek north of Qualicum Beach is extremely popular but it ended in a great deal of pain for one woman on Sunday.

“I guess she went to look over the edge and her footing gave way underneath her and she fell about 10 metres down to the creek in the rocks and there was water down at the bottom that she was partially in as well,” said Ken Neden from Arrowsmith Search and Rescue.

The victim’s hiking party had been able to call 911 and volunteers with Arrowsmith Search and Rescue hike in about 30 minutes from the Inland Island Highway.

When they reach the woman, who suffered apparent ankle and rib injuries, they realized she would need to be hoisted out by helicopter.

“If the helicopter wasn’t available it would have easily been a two or three-hour pack on a fairly narrow trail right next to the creek and other bluffs so it would have been challenging technically and tiring on the crew as well as possibly aggravating any injuries that she had,” added Neden.

Soon the Island’s only non-military hoist rescue helicopter is taking off from Parksville and picking up Campbell River and Comox Valley SAR team members to go and lift the woman to safety.

“There was nowhere to land a helicopter or get close to them with vehicles or quads so we were called to do a hoist extraction and get the patient out of there,” said Trent Lemke, Owner of Ascent Helicopters.

The victim was soon packaged up by Arrowsmith SAR members and hoisted out of the woods.

This is the third year Ascent Helicopters has been involved with search and rescue and has completed about 30 successful extractions.

“With these resources available you can get a critical care patient to a trauma facility in under an hour which was unheard of before for Vancouver Island,” added Lemke.

Ascent also has a contract with BC Emergency Health Services and is kept very busy operating an air ambulance across Vancouver Island.

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Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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