On Sunday August 2nd, 2015, North Shore Rescue was activated by BC Ambulance for a injured hiker on the Coliseum Mountain Trail which departs from Lynn Headwaters Park. The initial call indicated a head injury after a slip and fall on the trail, but gave only a rough location of the subject. That is, the subject was approximately 3km up the trail from the Norvan Falls junction, or roughly 2km below the summit. After this initial cellular contact, 911 was not able to re-establish comms.
Ground Search and Rescue members and Talon Helicopters (with a NSR flight team onboard) were quickly mobilized, and two field teams were put on the ground to bracket and locate the subject on the trail. One team was inserted to the ridge line, while the other was placed in the bowl below, at a new heli-pad which was established this last winter (see Coliseum Air Crash). After interviewing a number of hikers on the trail, and searching the area from the air, the subject was located by ground teams. See video below for details on location:
A North Shore Rescue emergency physician was part of the initial field team, and was able to assess the patient on scene. Concurrently, the flight team returned to base and rigged for a longline extraction of the patient. Given the serious, but likely non-life threatening nature of the injuries, BC Ambulance paramedics attended to further assess the patient and transport to hospital.
Using a 200 foot longline, a NSR technician was lowered through the tree canopy, where he assisted the field team with patient packaging prior to being extracted to the waiting ambulance. The following is a compilation of video footage taken during the rescue from multiple perspectives, which shows the terrain and the evolution of the rescue operation:
This call was a legitimate accident, and was well handled by the subject and her hiking companion. However, in light of the fact that NSR responded to 4 calls the previous day, it does trigger a warning to the public to be cautious when heading into the backcountry. To be clear, yesterday’s subjects were fairly well prepared, but it is worth a reminder to:
- Always tell someone responsible where you are going and when to expect you back (Leave a detailed trip plan)
- Carry the 10 essentials
- Bring extra water and electrolytes to hydrate
- Wear proper footwear (sturdy footwear with a good tread and ankle support)
- Call for rescue early (as was done correctly yesterday)
- Know how to access your location information on your phone and be prepared to share it with 911