At 13:30 yesterday (Sunday, March 23, 2014) Coquitlam SAR was notified of an injured snowmobiler on Burke Mountain. The subject’s wife reported that he had rolled his machine, and suspected a shoulder dislocation.
Unlike our search last week, the weather was co-operative, so the team activated our helicopter pre-plan, and mustered at Coquitlam Town Centre Fire Hall, which has a Transport Canada certified heli-pad, one of the many benefits to our team of being stationed at an active fire hall. Two teams of three with avalanche rescue, mountain travel, and advanced first aid training were flown to the subject’s reported location with Talon Helicopters.
The subject was assessed on scene. The risk in a task like this is that the subject’s injuries are greater than reported. A crush injury to the chest, or a blow to the head can be a lot more serious than a dislocated shoulder. The subject was found to be stable, but in great pain. He was walked to the helicopter, and flown back to Town Centre Fire Hall where a BC Ambulance crew was waiting.
The subject’s wife reported that he was taken to the hospital, and released later that evening.
This rescue was assisted by the quick action of SAR member Jordan Wycherley whose family owns a cabin on Burke and is acquainted with the subjects. Recognizing the serious nature of the injury, Jordan asked the subjects to call 911, and alerted the team of the call, allowing us to get a head start.
Burke Mountain is partly within the boundaries of the City of Coquitlam, and at 1270m is taller than Grouse Mountain, making it similar in terrain and weather conditions to the North Shore. The mountain is covered in mountain bike and hiking trails, and has a number of cabins. It is popular as a winter and summer recreation destination for those who have the skills and fitness to climb it. Cabin owners are permitted to use their snowmobiles for access. Coquitlam SAR performs 3-4 rescues in this area every year.