Hoist team rescues injured hiker near Nanaimo River
NANAIMO -- A man in his 50's is in hospital after a Father's Day outing went awry along the Nanaimo River Sunday.
Rescuers were called to the area to assist a man who had sustained head and spinal injuries after falling in a canyon. He was out on a hike with his son when the accident occurred.
Members of Nanaimo Search and Rescue and the Extension Fire Department were called to the scene and were the first to reach the injured man.
"They were not rock climbing, they unfortunately took a wrong turn and ended up along a fairly steep embankment," said Comox Valley Search and Rescue team leader Rich Swanson.
Swanson says the Nanaimo team provided initial first aid for the man and then had him on a stretcher and ready to go before a hoist team arrived on the scene.
Sunday’s incident marks the third hoist rescue for members of the Vancouver Island Hoist Team in the past three weeks.
The team is made up of members from the Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue and Campbell River Search and Rescue teams. Three members were assigned to Sunday's tasking.
The chopper was provided by Ascent Helicopters out of Parksville.
"This was in a very large ravine, quite a deep ravine," said Swanson.
"It was a 155-foot hoist. The helicopter hovered above, dropped two members down and then we packaged him up and put him onto another stretcher," he said.
Swanson says the victim was going in and out of consciousness but knew the team was there to assist him. He was eventually flown to Nanaimo General Hospital.
Swanson says the hoist capability is a great asset to Vancouver Island.
"I think with the COVID, people are getting out, which is fantastic but unfortunately when they get injured some of the situations that they're in, the safest, fastest and most effective way to get them out is with a helicopter hoist," he said.