A Cormorant helicopter crew from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron assisted ground first responders with the evacuation of an injured hiker from the Juan de Fuca Trail, late Sunday evening.
Paramedics from B.C. Ambulance, as well as members of Juan de Fuca and Cowichan Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) responded to the initial call for help to assist a hiker who had slipped from the trail boardwalk and injured his leg near San Juan Point. While they were able to stabilize the patient, the thick forest and rough terrain made ground evacuation difficult. Through the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria, B.C. Ambulance requested helicopter support to evacuate the patient.
Under driving rain, paramedics and GSAR members loaded the patient onto a litter and carefully made their way out from under thick forest canopy to the shoreline where he could be evacuated by helicopter.
“We used our radar to navigate along the shoreline to find the pick-up location,” said Captain Jean Leroux, aircraft commander. “Despite the low ceiling and heavy rain, we were able to spot the crews on the ground. Unfortunately, the high tide and rugged shoreline meant there were few spots for us to conduct the hoist of the patient.”
With the helicopter hovering 100 feet over the rocky shoreline, Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) were lowered to start the hoist of the patient.
“The paramedics and GSAR crews had a tough job; it was very wet and slippery and the brush on the forest floor was very thick in the area,” said Sergeant Shawn Harrison, SAR Tech. “They did great work in getting him to the shoreline.”
Once aboard the helicopter, the patient was flown to Victoria General Hospital where he was transferred in stable condition.