Injured snow biker rescued by helicopter near Lumby, B.C.
A helicopter extraction team jumped into action and rescued a Kamloops man after he was injured in a snow biking accident north of Lumby, B.C., on Saturday afternoon.
Vernon Search and Rescue (VSAR) said in a media release issued on Sunday that 50 people from Western Canada and the U.S. were attending a snow bike event on Park Mountain in the North Okanagan.
Spokesperson Trevor Honigman said the biker was injured after he unexpectedly hit a small gully and was thrown from his snow bike.
His friends were nearby and alerted others with their radios.
“He impacted very hard and knew he hurt his back but wasn’t sure the extent of his injuries,” said Honigman.
“His riding group did the right thing by keeping him immobile and calling for help without moving him.”
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VSAR mobilized its helicopter winch team.
Honigman said the remote location and challenging terrain meant that extraction by ground could have been harmful to the injured biker.
“His pain indicated a serious injury, and the trip down the mountain on a stretcher behind a snowmobile would have been a challenge,” he said in the release.
The helicopter lowered two rescue technicians and a stretcher to the scene and was able to land a short distance away.
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Ground search and rescue teams arrived to help secure the man to a stretcher with spinal immobilization.
He was loaded aboard the helicopter and transported to Vernon Jubilee Hospital for medical care.
Honigman said the injured snow biker has since been released from hospital and is expected to fully recover.
Vernon Search and Rescue said the incident highlights the importance of being prepared for the unexpected in the backcountry.
“Fun excursions into the B.C. wilderness can quickly turn into critical situations. Information and trip-planning tools are available on www.AdventureSmart.ca, which everyone enjoying the outdoors should be made aware of,” the release said.
The rescuers added that the use of technology helped locate the injured man in this case.
“Radios, GPS, InReach and SPOT communication devices all help rescue teams respond quickly and efficiently to the location,” Honigman said.
VSAR said it has noticed gradual improvement as bikers and sledders are equipping themselves with better gear, clothing and communication devices.
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