442 Squadron from Comox rescues skier at Whistler
A Cormorant helicopter from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 19 Wing Comox was tasked late Tuesday night to evacuate an injured skier out of the back country on Whistler Mountain.
The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria received a request from the RCMP to assist in the evacuation of a group of three skiers that had ventured into the backcountry. One of them was suffering from a back injury after a fall.
Whistler ski patrol evacuated one skier by long line helicopter but nightfall impeded their ability to complete the task.
The remaining two skiers where found by the Cormorant at 1,100 metres up the mountain. The skiers signalled their location with a strobe light. The two men were in a steep and narrow valley surrounded by trees, which presented challenges for the crew.
The Search and Rescue Technicians were inserted by hoist 64 metres above the pair.
“Upon our arrival on scene, I performed a primary body survey of the injured skier,” said Sgt. Eric Dinn, SAR Tech team leader. “Unfortunately, the men did not speak English, which increased the challenges to complete the patient’s evaluation.
"The man was lucid and conscious. He was able to move but exhibited signs of a minor lower back injury. I opted to evacuate the pair after performing spinal precautionary measures since we were in a precarious environment.
"The snow condition was unknown and we determined that a stream was running underneath us. It was preferable to evacuate the patient and complete the medical protocols in the helicopter.”
The SAR Techs provided continuous medical care onboard the Cormorant. The two men were flown to Vancouver airport where BC Ambulance took over.
The patient’s current condition is unknown.
The Cormorant crew was Maj. Troy Maa, Aircraft Commander, Capt. Luc Coates, First Officer, Sgt Neil Thorne, Flight Engineer, Sgt Eric Dinn and Master Cpl Anthony Vail, SAR Tech.
— 19 Wing Comox