Helicopter used to rescue hunter injured in ATV accident west of Oliver

Helicopter used to rescue hunter injured in ATV accident west of Oliver

A team from Penticton Search and Rescue used a helicopter to evacuate an injured hunter from Oliver on Wednesday after noon. (Facebook/Penticton & District Search & Rescue)

A helicopter rescue team evacuated a 65-year-old hunter from Oliver trapped on a mountainside overlooking Cawston on Wednesday afternoon.

“The Oliver resident had been hunting in the mountain area west of Oliver when his ATV overturned which resulted in a suspected leg fracture,” Penticton Search and Rescue (PENSAR) manager Randy Brown said.

The Victoria Emergency Coordination Centre called PENSAR shortly after 2 p.m. when a 911 call requesting medical assistance from the injured hunter was received, said Brown.

Despite not having GPS coordinates provided by the hunter, Keremeos RCMP were able to provide the rescue team with a location using the cell signal.

This information, along with phone contact with the hunter, allowed rescuers to locate the man in the mountains east of Cawston.

Once located, the man was immediately airlifted back to Penticton where he was transferred to a waiting ambulance.

His injuries are not suspected to be life threatening.

Brown credits the “seamless” coordination between police, ambulance and the PENSAR team in a in the quick response, noting that the team was able to quickly evacuate the subject from the area due after receiving accurate coordinates.

Because the call was received early in the afternoon, a helicopter could be used to speed the rescue effort.

“We usually get these calls close to sunset, which would have possibly negated the use of aircraft, and everything would have had to conducted via land,” Brown said. “This would have made for a long-prolonged rescue effort over difficult terrain.”

Brown reminded the public to take preventative measures when heading out into back country.

He suggests always having a plan and telling others where you will be and your intended route, going with someone when using all-terrain vehicles, carrying a GPS and not relying on a cellphone for location, carrying a signalling device like a mirror and a whistle, and bringing extra food, water and clothing.

“Most people don’t realize that hypothermia can be more of an issue in shoulder seasons than in the winter, so be prepared – the fall and spring can be full of weather surprises.”