An air ambulance lands on the road next to the parking lot leading to the Syphon Creek Falls trail in Gleneden about 5 p.m. Thursday, April 11. A hiker fell, suffering a severely fractured leg and was airlifted to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Shuswap Search and Rescue photo)

Hiker breaks leg in fall from steep Shuswap trail, airlifted to hospital

Search and rescue carry 47-year-old man with painful fracture to waiting medical helicopter

A hiker suffered a painful fracture when he fell from the Syphon Creek Falls trail in Gleneden, west of Salmon Arm, on Wednesday, April 11.

Shuswap Search and Rescue received the call about 4 p.m. regarding a 47-year-old man from Kelowna.

“He fell at the upper end of Syphon Creek, from the trail down towards the pool,” said SAR spokesperson John Schut. “He had a major fracture of his lower leg. It was a bad enough fracture that it involved the air ambulance helicopter.”

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He said when there’s a fracture with an open wound, there is a chance the femoral artery could be involved.

Schut estimates the hiker fell about 20 feet, and surmises he must have landed on a rock.

The man was with a female friend, who ran down to the bottom of the hill for help and used someone’s phone. Schut says she reached the ambulance who called search and rescue.

After SAR volunteers went up to help look after the hiker with an ambulance attendant and he was stabilized, a stretcher team went in to bring him down.

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The medical helicopter, meanwhile, was able to land on the road by the small parking lot at the base of Syphon Creek trail.

“It was pretty tight, they actually didn’t want to land there but they did,” says Schut.

The man was wet and cold from having been partially in the pool, so needed to be warmed up with heated blankets.

“It’s amazing when a person is injured how quickly they start losing heat.”

Navigating what normally is a 20-minute hike down to the parking lot was tricky.

“The trail is very rocky and difficult to traverse. Maneuvering a stretcher up there is not easy.”

Schut said the man retained consciousness throughout but was in a lot of pain. He estimates it was about 6 p.m. when the hiker was airlifted to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

Eight SAR volunteers, along with police and ambulance staff, took part in the rescue.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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