Smithers and Terrace Search and Rescue retrieve an injured geologist from a mountainside gulch near Iskut Saturday night. (Terrace SAR photo)

Geologist pulled from fall into mountainside gulch near Iskut

Joint exercise between Terrace, Smithers SAR employs longline rescue

A joint operation between Terrace and Smithers Search and Rescue airlifted a geologist from a steep mountainside gulch Saturday night.

The 26-year-old exploration worker from Vancouver was collecting samples in the Burrage Creek area about 50 km south of Iskut when he slipped and fell into the dry waterfall gulch. He suffered a severely broken ankle. His colleagues, with a helicopter on hand, were unable to reach him.

“Where he was was very precarious,” says Dave Jephson, Terrace SAR vice president. “His crew recognized right away they couldn’t help him get out, so they put their emergency plan in place and alerted all the authorities.”

Smithers SAR received the initial call for help because of their jurisdiction, but they shortly after called for assistance from Terrace SAR who is certified for longline rescues with partner Yellowhead Helicopters.

“It was crazy — he was midway up the mountain, I don’t know how many thousands of feet up, stuck in this kind of a gorge or a waterfall.”

The geologist was attached to the longline in tandem with one rescuer and brought down for first aid administered by Smithers SAR. The second rescuer, Jephson, was retrieved a short time later along with the geologist’s gear.

Terrace SAR flew the injured man back to Terrace to expedite medical treatment, rather than put him on his company’s helicopter back to camp.

“He’s doing good,” Jephson says. “I’ve been talking to him; we’ve been texting back and forth. Because of the nature of the injury —apparently it was the worst possible you could have — they shipped him off to Prince Rupert for surgery to put a couple plates into his leg.”

This is the second longline operation Terrace SAR has executed since receiving certification from Emergency Medical BC in February, 2018, for Class-D Fixed Line maneuvers. In August last year the organization pulled a hiker from a cliff face after she fell 300 feet from a ridge.

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Smithers and Terrace Search and Rescue retrieve an injured geologist from a mountainside gulch near Iskut Saturday night. (Terrace SAR photo)

Smithers and Terrace Search and Rescue retrieve an injured geologist from a mountainside gulch near Iskut Saturday night. (Terrace SAR photo)

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