Campbell River Search and Rescue (CRSAR) had a busy weekend, with four calls coming in between Friday and Monday to keep crews on their toes.
Their weekend started with a call on Friday night. An abandoned tent at the San Josef Heritage Campsite near Cape Scott Park was reported, with a group of two overdue to return to the site. Early Saturday, a team of CRSAR members and a K9 unit flew into the area to begin a search for the pair. They were located and returned safely to their campsite with no injuries.
A second call came in on Sunday morning, which was previously reported in the Mirror. The case involved a lone hiker and a dog on Flower Ridge in Strathcona Park.
“In cases like this, we are granted permission by the Province to rescue animals. There is no personnel or equipment reimbursement, but we receive work safe and liability insurance to assist in animal rescues,” said Campbell River SAR manager Grant Cromer in a press release. “Our members are always willing to rescue animals and this is something we have done in the past quite often.”
After the incident involving the dog and the hiker, a second call came in on Sunday night. This call was for a potentially stranded hiker on Iceberg Lake, again in Strathcona Park. The person was reportedly stuck in the middle of the lake on a snow and ice patch. CRSAR flew in an alpine rescue team on Monday morning, when it was determined the reported person was actually a rock that had melted out of the snow and from a distance appeared to have a human shape.
The final call of the weekend came on Monday afternoon. It was reported that a female hiker on Quadra Island was injured while hiking and required a hoist evacuation. Quadra Island Fire Department was on the scene, which was on a remote trail covered with rocky bluffs and heavily treed. Fire responders provided first aid on the scene. Since the area was so remote, a stretcher extraction would have been too labour intensive and aggravated her injuries, so a medical hoist was flown in. The woman was flown to the Campbell River Airport, where she was handed off to BC Ambulance Service.
“This call was different for us as we got to deploy a powerful analgesic in the field for pain reduction. We recently received training to use certain drugs for the treatment of subjects we care for in the backcountry,” said Cromer. “In this case the subject had considerable pain due to her lower limb injuries so we used a dose of Methoxyflurane, or Penthrox.”
Penthrox is an inhaled analgesic, and provides nearly instant pain relief.
“It wears off quickly but allows us to treat the injuries and move the patient with the benefit of some pain reduction,” Cromer added. “In this case, it worked well and the medical evacuation went well.”
CRSAR crews made sure to maintain COVID-19 protocols in all of the searches. This included donning PPE and wearing it on each call to ensure the safety of members and those they are rescuing.
“The donning of PPE and wearing that on each call is for the safety of our members as we come into contact with strangers who have unknown health and contact history,” Cromer said. “We have to wear all the proper PPE even when on SAR calls, and especially in close quarters like helicopters.”