Injured man airlifted from beach

Two beachcombers were evacuated from Side Bay and one taken to hospital with injuries early Sunday morning.

PORT HARDY—Two beachcombers were evacuated from Side Bay and one taken to hospital with injuries early Sunday morning in a rescue involving the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Coast Guard.

RCMP requested assistance from Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria after two men were reported overdue from a beachcombing outing. A Cormorant helicopter from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron took off from 19 Wing Comox at approximately 3 a.m. and joined the crew of Canadian Coast Guard Ship W.E. Ricker in a shoreline search. Crewmembers on the ship spotted a beach fire on the shore, just north of Brooks Peninsula, in Quatsino Sound, but were unable to reach the pair due to the hazardous rocks.

“The crew on the Coast Guard vessel did a great job in spotting the fire and directing us to where the men were, as the fire was difficult to spot from the air,” said Captain Jean Leroux, aircraft commander. “Despite the rocks, we found a safe landing area and set down to evacuate them.”

Upon arriving at the two men’s location, Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) found that one of them had sustained injuries after falling from the rocks. The SAR Techs stabilized the injured man for transport and the pair was loaded onto the helicopter. Upon arrival at the Port Hardy airport, the injured man was transferred to BC Ambulance and taken to Port Hardy Hospital.

The man, whose name has not been released, was treated and discharged the same day.

Search and Rescue (SAR) incidents under the federal SAR mandate are defined as “all aircraft incidents and all marine incidents in waters under federal jurisdiction. With the exception of federally owned National Parks, the overall responsibility for land and inland water search and rescue rests with the provinces, territories and municipalities. The Canadian Armed Forces may, however, provide assistance to land and inland water rescues when possible.