Arrowsmith Search and Rescue crews were called in to extricate an injured hiker, who plunged 10 metres off the edge of a gorge near Nile Creek on Sunday afternoon.
Just after 2:30 p.m. on May 2, ASAR members were advised of the situation near Nile Creek, located between Qualicum Bay and Bowser.
Ken Neden, the manager of ASAR, said the woman was walking a hiking trail with a small group of others when a bank over the creek gave way. He said the woman fell onto some rocks near a small pool. They were told she had possibly sustained broken ribs and further injuries.
One of the members of her group called 911, ASAR was notified, and it took approximately 30 minutes to find the exact location along the trail.
“We had a reasonable location where she was, but it was difficult accessing her,” said Neden.
He said by the time they arrived two other hikers had somehow managed to get down to her and give what assistance they could. ASAR members made the call to use a rope system to lower themselves down the gorge.
“And when we did get to her, she did have broken ribs and was hurting very badly,” said Neden.
It soon became evident that the use of a helicopter would be needed to get her out of the area.
One of the Island’s only non-military helicopter deployed out of Parksville, stopping by Campbell River and Comox Valley for additional search and rescue members.
Neden said a hoist extraction with a winch system was used, as there was nowhere for the helicopter to land close to the site.
Using the rope system and a stretcher, the woman was lifted back to the top of the gorge to where the helicopter could access her.
“If the winch hadn’t been there, the helicopter, it probably would have been a three-hour pack over a really treacherous trail to even get her to a logging road. That would’ve been tiring for the crew and possibly could have aggravated her injuries.”
Once in the air, the woman was taken to hospital.
In total, 22 SAR members were involved in Sunday’s rescue.
Neden suggested hikers refer to adventuresmart.ca as a safety resource for outdoor activities.
The weekend proved eventful for ASAR, as the organization was involved in three separate rescues; a lost Parksville man with a tracking device; providing assistance with a rescue near Nanaimo; and the Nile Creek incident on Sunday.
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