NSR Assists with Rescue in Ladysmith this week. Unfortunately the Gov’t Cormorant Helicopters have a massive downwash that makes mountain rescues somewhat treacherous. The smaller A-Star Choppers from the commercial operation Talon Helicopters work very well in these conditions.
Here is an article covering the event.
Two rescued from Holland Creek Trail
By Rebecca Aldous
3:56:29PM, Jun 21 2007
Malcolm Sacht’s only relief from the pain of a gaping gash in his left leg was the stick he bit into.
The Ladysmith 15-year-old was trapped, unable to walk up the path by which he and his friends had entered the steep gorge beside the Holland Creek Trail. Still in shock after falling 10 feet from a crumbled ledge to the rocks below and bouncing into the ice-cold creek, Malcolm knew the cut was bad but didn’t want to look at it.
“I went onto my back to swim and saw my leg. I just started screaming, I got a glimpse of it,” Malcolm says. “One of my friends Geoff Genge jumped into the water and swam me to the bank.”
Another friend, Matt Needham, ripped his shirt and wrapped it tightly around Malcom’s leg to slow the blood. They called 911 and waited for the paramedics.
It was the beginning of what turned into a four-hour rescue effort involving firefighters, paramedics, search and rescue crews, and two helicopters.
Ultimately, both Sacht and a Ladysmith firefighter were taken to hospital.
“I didn’t know if I was going to make it out,” Malcolm says. “I just wanted to get home.”
Ladysmith paramedics were the first on the scene.
After assessing the situation, they called Ladysmith firefighters to move Malcolm to a more accessible spot.
“It wasn’t a good location at all, it was all treacherous cliffs and banks,” Ladysmith firefighter John Goodman Jr. says. “We had to walk him a couple of hundred metres down.”
In a clearing, the rescue pack waited as the Comox 442 Squadron with a Cormorant helicopter circled, unable to get close enough to drop a line.
Malcolm, who had been given nitrous oxide, says the propellor wash knocked down trees and crumbled the creekside.
“(The paramedics) covered me up when the trees started falling. There is nothing quite like it, it was like being caught in a hurricane,” Malcolm says.
One tree crashed down inches from Malcolm’s feet.
Goodman wasn’t as lucky. Hunched over covering his eyes from the debris, an eight inch in diameter tree fell on top of him. Paramedics worried the blow could have damaged Goodman’s back.
“It didn’t knock me out, but I felt it. It was like getting hit by a car,” Goodman says.
North Shore Rescue arrived with a smaller Talon helicopter. Goodman was lifted out first and then Malcolm. The Ladysmith Secondary School rugby player is afraid of heights, but swallowed his fears to finish the ordeal.
“I don’t mind flying but being dangled from a helicopter, that was pretty freaky,” Malcolm says.
Both were taken to the Nanaimo Regional District Hospital.
Malcom’s cut took 36 stitches and 25 staples to close. Other than bruises, Goodman was fine. Both are grateful to the people involved in the evacuation.
“The guys from the Cormorant are awesome. They saw the tree fall on me and came to check on me in the ambulance,” Goodman says. “It is just one of those things. But they know their job and are really good guys.”
Malcolm is still amazed the fall didn’t break his leg.
In Grade 8, he crashed his dirt bike and managed to walk away without a break, but he doesn’t want to push his luck any further.
“I am going to walk down to where I fell and spraypaint ‘watch your step,’” Malcolm says.