Fernie Search and Rescue

Hiker rescued

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The Free Press
July 2009

A hiker with a sprained ankle was hauled off a mountain by helicopter on Sunday, in a dramatic rescue in the middle of a thunderstorm.

The 36-year-old Fernie woman rolled her ankle while hiking the Mountain Lakes Trail, better known as Heiko's Trail, with her husband and a friend on Sunday at about 130 p.m.  She thought it was broken and could not keep walking, so her husband, who had cell phone service, called 911 for help.

The RCMP contacted Fernie Search and Rescue, who had to bring a helicopter from Cranbrook. Chris Thomas from Fernie Search and Rescue, said: "We have a pilot in Femie who we usually call but he was away so we had to call Cranbrook. If the rescue would take more than two hours by foot we have to find a helicopter to use."

The group was behind the Three Sisters, in Fairy Meadows when the helicopter found them. A huge thunderstorm had just rolled in which meant the helicopter was grounded at the rescue site while the team waited for the hail and lightning to ease. "If we hadn't had to get a helicopter from Cranbrook we would have been able to do the rescue before the storm arrived, but the delay meant we were right in the middle of it," said Thomas. "Lightning and hail are bad news for helicopters It's a good idea for hikers to keep this in mind and check the weather forecast before heading out, especially if they are heading into the mountains."

Despite the conditions, the team were eventually able to get the woman to the Elk Valley hospital in Femie where she found out her ankle was |ust badly sprained, and not broken.

This web site has been created by and is provided by VolunteerRescue of SKRPC Holdings Inc., Fernie, BC, Canada.