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B.C. emergency crews team up, use helicopter to rescue woman from South Cariboo mountain

Search and rescue teams from the South Cariboo and the Lower Mainland joined forces for an emergency mountaintop rescue Saturday night, following a call for an injured snowmobiler near Hendrix Lake.

The call came in to South Cariboo Search and Rescue at around 5:20 p.m., according to team leader Val Severin, who said a six-person crew immediately began preparing to dispatch to the area on Big Timothy Mountain, around 10 km from Hendrix Lake and at an approximate elevation of 5,000 feet.

“For us to be able to respond, we needed to have clearance from an avalanche safety tech Level 2, so we put that request into place,” Severin said. “We also coordinated with North Shore Rescue, who have access to a Talon helicopter that can fly at night.”

The South Cariboo members accessed the injured snowmobiler and her group – riders from the Williams Lake area – providing first aid and prepping her for transport while awaiting the North Shore helicopter. A few members of the injured rider’s party had retrieved blankets and firewood from a nearby residence to keep her as comfortable as possible, Severin said.

When the Talon helicopter arrived – with an ER physician and an anesthesiologist on board – the patient was loaded up and flown to Williams Lake airport, then transferred via ambulance to Cariboo Memorial Hospital.

The extent of her injuries and current condition are not known at this time.

Severin said the assistance from North Shore Rescue and the Talon chopper was a huge help, given the location of the injured rider and the complexity of transferring her via ground transport.

“The other option would have been to put her on a spine board in a skimmer and bring her down the mountain on a snowmobile, which likely would have drastically aggravated her injuries,” Severin said, noting the ambulance ride along many kilometres of logging road would have also been “really uncomfortable.”

The South Cariboo crew is pleased with how the rescue unfolded and now wishing the patient a full and speedy recovery, Severin said.

“It was a really good team effort, everybody worked together really well.”
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Melissa Smalley

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Melissa Smalley

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