Rough seas and rugged terrain left airlifting an injured hiker off the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail on Sunday as the best option, a spokesperson for Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Victoria said Monday.
The man was suffering from “upper-body injuries” and was transported by a CFB Comox-based Cormorant helicopter to Victoria General Hospital at about 7 p.m. Sunday.
The centre received a call shortly before 10 a.m. about a man in distress on the trail, about four kilometres south of Port Renfrew. Since it was a ground rescue, a paramedic crew was initially dispatched to evacuate the man.
“But the conditions on the trail were not good, so they requested assistance at around 4 p.m.,” said joint rescue centre spokesperson Lt. (Navy) Paul Pendergast. “Initially a boat extraction was considered, but the conditions of the sea were high and … it was determined that an air extraction was a better option.”
While the residency of the hiker was not immediately available, West Shore residents frequently tackle the trail, a 47-kilometre hiking trail stretching along the western shoreline of the Island from China Beach near Jordan River to Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew.
Pendergast reminded anyone planning on hiking the trail, or portions of it, to do three things before getting underway: “In general we always tell people be prepared, have a plan and have a means of communication,” he said.
“The advice we often give, which applies almost any time of the year, is to be prepared for the conditions that you’re going into; think about the area and what the conditions are likely to be.”
Even prepared hikers can become injured, however, and Pendergast said the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre is “glad to be able to call on resources to help people when the need arises.”