Injured mountain biker airlifted from North Shore trail

A mountain biker is alive thanks to a co-ordinated rescue effort from multiple forest responder agencies.

The 35-year-old man took a nasty fall while riding on the Mount Seymour trail Cambodia just after 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

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About 25 North Shore Rescue volunteers were already out covering the Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run, including an emergency physician and helicopter rescue team, when the call came in.

The victim reported having referred shoulder pain, and a North Shore Rescue member who happened to be on the trail found he had no radial pulse — indications he’d suffered internal injuries.

“He was getting worse and worse. He was nauseous on site, getting very pale and cool. It was very apparent that he was going downhill quickly,” said Mike Danks, North Shore Rescue team leader. “It was determined this guy was in critical condition suffering possibly from a ruptured spleen and he needed to be evacuated as quickly as possible — ideally by long line to reduce the wear and tear on his body as he’s getting brought out.”

Danks sent the ER doc and an ambulance paramedic to the scene via the Hyannis Trail and called in a Talon helicopter to the Bone Creek search and rescue station to be prepped for a long-line rescue. By the time Danks was lowered more than 60 metres down to the rescue site, District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services members, Metro Vancouver parks staff and B.C. Ambulance Service paramedics had the man packaged in a stretcher. From there, he was airlifted to a waiting ambulance.

“They basically brought him into the LGH and straight into surgery,” Danks said. “They removed his spleen. He’s making a good recovery… He’s now in stable condition.”

Danks described the Cambodia trail as “not so well known but very advanced.”

“He was incredibly lucky. He was in quite a remote area of Lower Seymour. It’s one of the farthest-out trails,” he said.

Without the quick and co-ordinated response between firefighters, paramedics, parks staff and rescue volunteers, the man likely would have died in the woods, Danks said.

“It was a four-agency response that went very well. Everybody worked together perfectly to ensure his best care,” Danks said.

This story was first reported in the North Shore News.

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