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Hiker rescued from Nootka Trail

Jul 19 2012

A 19-year-old  hiker who was injured on the remote Nootka Trail is in Victoria General Hospital after she was rescued by Coast Guard and Search and Rescue members, Tuesday evening.

The woman, who slipped on some rocks and was feared to have spinal injuries, was rescued by the Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Air Force, and brought to hospital in stable condition, according to Capt. Trevor Reid.

The injured woman was part of an outdoor education course, Reid said. The remainder of the group remained on the trail. Officials report the group was well prepared — even firing off a flare to help guide the Coast Guard IRB 507 crew to their location, Reid reported.

The woman’s name has not been released.

The hiker had been walking the Nootka Trail, just north of Maquinna Point on Nootka Island. The Island is above Tofino, on the north end of the Island.

She fell on uneven rocks at approximately 5:30 p.m., Reid reported. The group contacted the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria suspecting a back injury. The Coast Guard was the first to respond, racing to the scene in a rigid-hull Inflatable boat.

The hiker was stabilized until a Cormorant helicopter from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 19 Wing Comox, arrived, Reid said.

“We landed on the beach in a very tight area,” said Capt. Luc Coates, aircraft commander, in a statement. “There were a lot of large rocks and stumps and the sloped terrain meant that everyone on board had to work as a team to ensure a safe landing.”

Once on the ground, search and rescue technicians hiked into the bush for approximately 150 metres from the beach. There the Coast Guard crew had already loaded the patient onto what’s called a litter, a basket-like stretcher, for helicopter transport.

“We had communication with the Coast Guard members on the ground before we landed and they were able to direct us to the right spot and then assist the SAR Techs in carrying the patient to the helicopter,” said Capt Coates.

The hiker was flown to Victoria General Hospital, arriving in stable condition just before 9 p.m. VIHA is expected to report on the for the status of the woman later this morning.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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