Two hikers suffered injuries on a remote trail in Cape Breton, N.S., and were rescued in an operation involving multiple agencies last weekend.
In a release, the RCMP said officers from Cheticamp received a report about two injured hikers on the Pollett’s Cove trail near Pleasant Bay around 5:45 p.m. on May 21.
“RCMP officers, Pleasant Bay Volunteer Fire Department and EHS responded to the scene and began formulating a plan to enter the trail in an attempt to locate the hikers,” the release said.
“Due to the difficult terrain, remote area and lack of cellular phone and radio coverage, an RCMP officer and EHS paramedic entered the trail together in an attempt to locate the hikers.”
Emergency responders set up a command post at the base of the trailhead and search and rescue teams from Cheticamp, Cape Breton and the Strait region began mobilizing to the area.
Around 9 p.m., the RCMP officer and the paramedic found the injured hikers on the trail. They were treated at the scene and a CH-149 Cormorant belonging to the Joint Rescue Co-Ordination Centre landed in a field nearby.
The hikers were then airlifted to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney.
“The RCMP would like to thank the Pleasant Bay Volunteer Fire Department, EHS, Parks Canada, the Joint Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (JRCC), Cheticamp Ground Search and Rescue, Strait Regional Ground Search and Rescue and Cape Breton Ground Search and Rescue teams, for their assistance which led to a successful conclusion to this search and rescue operation,” the release said.
Police advised people to plan ahead before going for a hike.
“Make a list of things that you may need, including: rain gear, extra warm clothing, food, water, first aid kit, pocket knife, matches in a waterproof container, sunscreen, whistle, flashlight and insect repellent are recommended,” it said.
Other safety tips include:
- Find out about the trail you plan to hike and make sure that the trail is not beyond your abilities.
- Watch the weather. It can change frequently so it’s important to know what to expect and to dress accordingly.
- Don’t go alone. Consider going with a friend or a group of people.
- Tell people where you’re going and when you plan to be back. This can help first responders to locate you in the event of an emergency.
- Bring a fully charged cellphone. This will allow you to call someone if you become lost. Cellphones have become an important tool for first responders to help locate lost hikers.
- Find out if there is cellular service in the area you are planning to hike, especially if the hike is in a remote area. The area surrounding the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, including Pleasant Bay, is known to have poor cellular service and hikers should bring a Satellite Communication Device.
- If you do get lost, stay calm and keep warm. If you have to stay overnight, build a campfire for warmth, light, and safety. This can also assist first responders as the smoke of a campfire can be spotted by an aircraft.