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Man, 20, rescued after fall on rocks at Arbutus Cove

Jun 04 2012

Firefighters and paramedics executed a lengthy rescue mission from the beaches of Arbutus Cove on Saturday to save the life of a 20-year-old rock climber who fell from a high rock face to the rugged terrain below.

The man suffered from several broken bones, was in hypothermic shock and needed to be moved across land to a safe clearing on the beach before being airlifted to hospital, according to rescuers.

Saanich firefighters first arrived on the scene around 11:30 a.m. and found the climber lying with half his body in the cold waters of a tidal pool near Arbutus Cove.

They estimate he could have fallen from as high as 10 metres and may also have suffered internal injuries.

"He was in rough shape," said Capt. Dale Peebles. "He definitely hit some rocks from his fall. He was cold and in shock when we got to him."

B.C. Ambulance arrived next and assessed the man's injuries, which included a compound fracture to one of his legs.

Paramedics determined it best to move the man a couple hundred metres down the shoreline — in a specialized stretcher designed for moving people over rough terrain — to a near-by beach.

The clearing on the beach had enough space for the B.C. Ambulance helicopter to land. The injured climber was then transported to hospital.

The rescue took about an hour and involved an estimated 18 emergency responders, including members from an RCMP rescue boat.

DSpalding@timescolonist.com