Skip to content

‘It was a godsend’: Chance encounter with wildfire crew helps Shuswap rescue mission

Shuswap Volunteer Search and Rescue responded to a quadding accident on Aug. 28
Shuswap Volunteer Search and Rescue helped a 72-year-old man who injured his back in a quadding accident near Sicamous on Aug. 28, 2021. (File photo)

Shuswap Volunteer Search and Rescue (SVSAR) was incredibly grateful for a chance encounter with BC Wildfire crews working on the Two Mile Road wildfire near Sicamous on Saturday, Aug. 28.

In the late afternoon Saturday, SVSAR responded to a quadding accident, said John Schut, search manager with SVSAR.

A 72-year-old man was out quadding with a group of about 10 people. Unfortunately, the man hit a log while riding uphill and rolled over onto his back, Schut said.

The man sustained back injuries and SVSAR was concerned for his well being.

Including Schut, seven SVSAR members went to the man’s aid. When they arrived, they found he had been well taken care of by his group. He was wrapped in a blanket, and Schut said the injured man’s companions were most helpful.

SVSAR came up with an extraction plan as daylight slowly started to fade. They decided to take the man to the top of the mountain where he was riding, in hopes he could be airlifted. However, despite reaching out to emergency coordination services and private companies, a helicopter could not be obtained.

SVSAR instead took the man to the Owlhead parking lot, a lot used in winter by many snowmobilers. As they arrived, they happened across a BC Wildfire crew finishing up for the day.

“It was a godsend, I tell you,” said Schut.

“You need help?” Schut recalls the BC Wildfire crew saying.

When Schut explained the injured man’s situation, and how his vital signs were starting to weaken a little, the crew told Schut “we can get you a helicopter.”

Soon, a helicopter from Salmon Arm’s BC Wildfire Service Rapattack Base was on its way.

When it arrived, two first-aid certified SVSAR members boarded the helicopter with the injured man. The helicopter flew to the Salmon Arm Airport, where an ambulance was waiting.

Schut wasn’t sure of the man’s condition, but in an Aug. 31 interview he said he would be giving him a call later in the day.

Read more: Light flurries descend upon parts of the Okanagan

Read more: Overdose death toll tops 1,000 in first 6 months of 2021: BC Coroners Service

Do you have something else we should report on? Email:
Like us on Facebook and subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Follow Zachary on Twitter @roman_reports