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Updated: Injured senior hiker airlifted from Maple Mountain

Medical personnel tend hiker believed injured on Maple Mountain Tuesday. - Courtesy Pam McCulloch
Medical personnel tend hiker believed injured on Maple Mountain Tuesday.
— image credit: Courtesy Pam McCulloch

A senior hiker who suffered a fracture ankle Tuesday on Maple Mountain was recovering in Cowichan District Hospital after being helped by Cowichan Search and Rescue members, and a helicopter crew, officials say.

Reader Pam McCulloch sent the News Leader Pictorial photos of the injured person being tended by medical personnel after being lifted, by a North Shore chopper, from the mountain and delivered to an ambulance waiting on a field across from Maple Bay's former fire hall.

"A first aid team was sent in to assess and stabilize the gentleman," CSAR search manager Tina Phillips' email says after her crew got paged at 2:20 p.m.

"The approximately 80-year-old man was part of an experienced, and well-prepared hiking group.  He confirmed he had fractured his ankle after sliding on a rugged slope."

Due to tough terrain, and lack of safe access to the water, it was decided to request a helicopter with HETS (helicopter external-transport system capability), allowing a person to be long-lined to safety if the helicopter couldn't safely land in a mountain clearing, she explains.

Three CSAR members hiked in to help the injured man, while six other members stood by for support.

A medical member on the North Shore chopper "was inserted via hover exit on the uneven rocky terrain where, in consultation with Cowichan SAR members who had already accessed and treated the patient, it was decided the subject could be evacuated via hover entry," a North Shore account reads of the helicopter rescue.

Phillips says the patient was visited shortly afterward at CDH by a CSAR member "and was in good humour."

Helicopter costs are covered by the province, she notes.

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