Members of the local search and rescue team responded to an injured snowmobiler in the Goose Greek area on Wednesday.
Castlegar Search and Rescue (CSAR) received the call around 11:45 a.m.
“A snowmobiler was up Goose Creek snowmobile area and took a jump and landed hard and injured his back,” explained Gord Ihlen, operations manager for CSAR. “His buddies helped him out, called for help and kept him warm and stable until SAR Techs, search and rescue personnel, arrived by helicopter.”
SAR Techs, or Search and Rescue Technicians, are SAR members with advanced training in medical, rope and avalanche.
“So rather than just a searcher they’re highly skilled in rescue techniques,” said Ihlen.
The SAR Techs “packaged up” the injured snowmobiler and he was transported by helicopter to the West Kootenay Regional Airport where BC Ambulance took over his care.
Ihlen explained that initially, CSAR had taken a two-pronged approach, sending in both a ground team by snowmobile and an air team by helicopter.
“It just happened that the helicopter was able to get in close to the subject and we were able to lift him into the helicopter from there so the ground team was stood down,” he said. “We always have that plan in case the helicopter can’t make it in or out. So we did have to take the subject and one of our SAR members out and then the helicopter had to come back and pick up two more SAR members from the top of the hill.”
CSAR does not have its own helicopter so Ihlen said they primarily use Dam Helicopters out of Castlegar.
“They come with some very experienced pilots who know our team and we train with them on their helicopters so we’re all familiar with the aircraft,” he said.
Ihlen also gave credit to the snowmobilers for going out in a group and having the right equipment, including the means to light a fire.
“I’d like to praise the snowmobiling community for being more and more prepared every time they go out,” said Ihlen.