VANCOUVER -- A hiker on Vancouver Island was airlifted to safety Saturday after getting injured on a trail in the Comox Valley.

Search and rescue crews say the woman fractured her ankle along Rosewall Creek Trail. While the injury wasn't especially severe, the Vancouver Island hoist team was still called to respond.

"Due to the location and the weather, it would have been a multi-hour, multi-person stretcher pack back out to safety," said Grant Cromer of Campbell River Search and Rescue.

The hoist team is made up of volunteers from Campbell River and Comox Valley search and rescue groups who are trained to perform helicopter-based rescues.

The team has been operating on Vancouver Island for the last two years, and members say it's been especially useful during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With the current COVID regulations, we have sort of a fast track to extract patients at a quicker response rate," Cromer said. "Rather than exposing 15, 20 people to a potential contagion, we have the ability to extract with three or four people."

As B.C. has relaxed some of the restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus, search and rescue crews have been active.

"Calls are up all over the island," Cromer said.

He reminded hikers to be prepared, especially when venturing into the backcountry, adding that search crews still have to take COVID-19 precautions - such as donning personal protective equipment - before beginning a search. This can slow down their response times, making proper preparation on the part of the hiker all the more important, he said.