On July 3, North Shore Rescue was activated by BC Ambulance for an injured male hiker somewhere near Norvan Falls. He had become separated from his group and sustained a fall which resulted in immobilizing injuries. Luckily he was able to use his cell phone to call 911. This area can be described as patchy at best for cell service.
Upon receiving the call, NSR activated a two pronged approach to locate the subject. Members were deposited by helicopter at our Norvan Creek helipad to attempt to locate the subject on the ground. Another team used the aircraft to search from the air. Eventually, the subject was located north of Norvan Falls near the Colosseum Mountain Trail at about 700m.
A North Shore Rescue physician and members assessed the patient. Although nothing was found to be obviously fractured, his mobility had been seriously limited by a number of serious lacerations, bruising, and a possible sprain. It was elected that the safest option was to longline the subject out from the rugged and remote location.
With Kelsey Wheeler from Talon Helicopters flying the rescue evolution, the subject and members were long-lined back to a staging area and then to our Bone Creek SAR station where the patient received further care.
We got lucky on this one. It was a nice day, a helicopter was available, and thus the ground response was limited. Had this been at night, or during inclement weather, our members would have had to hike into this location and effect a stretcher evacuation. At this time, that equipment is not in our rescue cache, at…you guessed it…Norvan Falls. The same place where we normally have an operational rescue cache, which was unfortunately rendered useless by senseless theft last week. We are still in the process of restocking it. Thus the response would have been delayed, and there would have been no backup gear for members once they were in the area.
In SAR we don’t operate on luck, we make our luck. We don’t count count on “getting lucky,” we assess worst case scenarios and after a risk/benefit analysis, we mitigate risks with forward planning and staging of equipment. These caches are there to mitigate our risk. We are now implementing extensive and costly security features to these caches that take time and money. There isn’t much we can do to catch the guys who hit us last week, but we can make future thefts more difficult and vastly increase the risk of getting caught.
With regards to last weeks break-in, we ask that when hiking in the area:
(1) be vigilant for suspicious activity
(2) respect our caches
(3) Keep your eye out for gear caches in the woods
Also, if a friend or acquaintance has all of sudden acquired a chainsaw, a bunch of ropes, a couple camp stoves, rescue hardware and first aid kits; we ask that you contact us ([email protected]). What was done was risky, and wrong. I personally would like to sit down and talk with whomever did this.