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Injured ATVers rescued near Ymir

One person has been evacuated by helicopter and taken to hospital in Kelowna following a serious ATV crash near Ymir.

Search manager Mike Hudson of South Columbia Search and Rescue says they were called at around 7:45 on Sunday and brought in search organizations from Nelson, Rossland, and Castlegar to help.

He said one man rolled and damaged his quad and a second tried to tow it out, but both quads then rolled. They hopped on a third man’s side-by-side, but due to the steep and shale-like terrain, the side-by-side also rolled.

Two of the men were left with bumps and bruises, but one was more critically hurt, with  upper and lower abdominal injuries, rib fractures, and pelvic and head injuries, Hudson said.

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He said their original plan was to get the trio out using a long-line helicopter team, but as daylight was fading, they switched to accessing the site on ATVs. However, they weren’t able to bring the critically injured man out by ATV due to the rough road conditions and the nature of his injuries.

At 11:30 p.m. they called on a Cormorant helicopter from Comox for night operations through the Joint Rescue Centre in Victoria, assisted by a Hercules fixed-wing support plane that puts up flares. Hudson says it normally takes about three and a half hours to fly here plus set-up time, but the helicopter ran into bad weather and was delayed.

In the meantime, Dr. Nick Sparrow of the Kootenay Emergency Response Physicians Association was on hand.

“We took him up and he was with us all night stabilizing the subject,” Hudson says. “We put IVs and gave him medication and made him comfortable while we worked through the night to build a rescue plan.”

By 2:40 a.m., two of the three victims were safely evacuated to their command location while the remaining man waited to be evacuated by air.

The helicopter arrived around 6:25 a.m. and a long-line rescue operation began. Once evacuated, the man was taken to the Castlegar airport to meet a plane to be flown to Kelowna and be treated by a trauma care team.

Thirty-two people responded to the incident, including the Salmo Fire Department, RCMP, BC Emergency Health Services.

Hudson said the injured men were all from the West Kootenay.

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