A 20-year-old paraglider was airlifted to safety after spending a cold night alone on Mt. Cheam.
The man reportedly crashed at about 3,500 feet up the mountainside sometime Saturday evening, but rescuers could not reach him before night fell and temperatures dropped.
He was reportedly in serious condition when a military search and rescue helicopter was finally able to reach him at about 8 a.m. Sunday.
RCAF Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) were hoisted almost 300 feet from a hovering Cormorant helicopter to the injured paraglider early morning on Sunday. The incident took place at a height of 4900 feet, with steep terrain complicating the rescue.
“We were pulling a lot of torque, using all the power our three engines could give us to maintain the hover, allowing our SAR Techs to descend with the rescue basket,” said Capt. Pete Wright, pilot. “Because the terrain was steep, we didn’t have a lot of room to maneuver the helicopter and we had to be careful the downwash from our rotors didn’t blow debris onto the patient.”
“We got on scene, assessed his injuries and stabilized him,” said Sgt. Steph Clavette, SAR Tech. “He was cold with serious injuries so we had to be very careful.”
Once onboard the helicopter, the patient was flown to Abbotsford where he was transferred into the care of BC Ambulance. His present condition is unknown.
The rescue came after earlier attempts by another Cormorant helicopter Saturday night had been frustrated by clouds and difficulties in determining the location of the downed paraglider, that helicopter suffered a mechanical difficulty later that night.
The cause of the crash is not known at this time.
The paraglider’s name has not been released.