Alberni Valley Rescue Squad volunteer Nick Bachmeier prepares his gear to descend Judge’s Route on Mount Arrowsmith to rescue three hikers, two seriously injured, on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)

Alberni Valley Rescue Squad volunteer Nick Bachmeier prepares his gear to descend Judge’s Route on Mount Arrowsmith to rescue three hikers, two seriously injured, on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)

UPDATE: Injured hiker among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

Three hikers were rescued from the south side of Mount Arrowsmith on Sunday (Jan. 17), with two women taken to hospital in Courtenay.

In a joint rescue operation, Arrowsmith Search and Rescue Association (ASAR) and Alberni Valley Rescue Squad (AVRS) were able to assist in locating and rescuing the trio from Judge’s Route on the mountain. One of the people sustained ‘significant injuries’, while another was also seriously injured. Both were transferred to the trauma centre at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. A third person was uninjured.

The call initially came in to 911 Sunday afternoon, Jan. 17 as three skiers injured at Mt. Arrowsmith, AVRS search manager Dave Poulsen said. When rescuers reached the trio in a deep gully on Judge’s Route they discovered the three were hikers, not skiers.

Arrowsmith SAR quickly accessed a helicopter and spotted the hikers by air. Alberni Valley sent two ground teams—one to the trailhead of Judge’s Route to climb up, and one airlifted to the top of the route to climb down and intercept.

“It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them,” said Ken Neden from ASAR. A CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopter from 442 Squadron in Comox was dispatched from 19 Wing, and two search and rescue technicians were dropped at the scene.

READ MORE: Arrowsmith SAR’s Nick Rivers reflects on harrowing rescue of man from Little Qualicum River

READ MORE: Arrowsmith Search and Rescue seeks public assistance paying for new $1.2M hall project

READ MORE: PQBeat: A chat with Arrowsmith SAR’s Nick Rivers and Ken Neden

A helicopter and search plane were tasked with finding the three while search and rescue teams worked on foot.

According to Neden, AVRS members were lifted to the top of Mount Arrowsmith to try and work their way down and locate the trio.

ASAR used helicopters and flares to illuminate the side of the mountain as it became dark. Reports indicated nearby residents were calling to report fires on the mountain.

Once the trio of hikers was located at approximately midnight, four AVRS rescuers and two SARtechs conducted a rope rescue.

“They discovered there were two members injured, and they were hikers, not skiers,” Poulsen said. “(Rescuers) were able to bring all three of the subjects back up from the gully they were in to a location where the Cormorant could come in and hoist the patients up and take them to the hospital.”

Two women were transported to hospital in Comox, and transferred by EHS to a trauma centre at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. The lone male in the party was uninjured, according to Poulsen.

Neden said “there had been quite a bit of cloud in and around where the people were, which was roughly two-thirds up the mountain,” adding to the precariousness of the situation.

Poulsen said the three hikers had proper equipment but “from our understanding it was their first time up Mt. Arrowsmith and their first time going up Judge’s Route. They had appropriate gear but they weren’t experienced with the area they were in.”

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Search and Rescuevancouverisland

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A flare from a helicopter can be seen from the vantage point of one of the Alberni Valley Rescue Squad’s rope rescue team members during a complicated rescue on Mount Arrowsmith, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)

A flare from a helicopter can be seen from the vantage point of one of the Alberni Valley Rescue Squad’s rope rescue team members during a complicated rescue on Mount Arrowsmith, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)

Mount Arrowsmith. Three hikers were rescued from the south side of the mountain on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Nancy Randall photo)

Mount Arrowsmith. Three hikers were rescued from the south side of the mountain on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Nancy Randall photo)

Just Posted

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read