WEST VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A snowboarder is safe after a dramatic — and potentially dangerous — rescue was completed out of bounds in Cypress Provincial Park, Tuesday.
North Shore Rescue received the call just before 4 p.m. for reports of a snowboarder who had been involved in an avalanche off of Cypress Mountain, in an area called Mitten Couloir on the back side of Mount Strachan.
“The avalanche conditions were not optimal for rescuers so we had to be very careful with sending limited resources into that area,” NSR team lead Mike Danks tells NEWS 1130.
Rescuers say the man first called his girlfriend, who then called police who alerted search and rescue. He was spotted by crews in the air.
“While [the team] made contact with him, they were able to actually pull him out of the avalanche debris that he was on into a safe area out of the slide zone. We had a physician that met them that safe zone that was able to assess his injuries,” Danks says.
Ground teams were able to extract the man around 7:30 p.m.
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The snowboarder was reportedly slammed into a tree hit while he was caught in the avalanche. He was buried in the snow from the waist down and couldn’t move.
“He was presenting as very confused, hypothermic, complaining of pain in his pelvis area and his shoulders,” explains Danks. “So they were really concerned about his wellbeing.”
Crews were unable to use air support to get the man out, so additional SAR members were called in to help with the extraction.
Here are a few pictures from tonight’s medical rescue.
While the extent of the snowboarder’s injuries aren’t clear at this point, Danks says he’s expected to recover.
“I think some of the takeaways here are this individual made the mistake of snowboarding out of bounds. The avalanche conditions right now are significant. Whether he triggered that slide or was just hit by that slide, it was a size two slide, so very significant. This could have taken his life,” he notes.
“I think he got really lucky to have a cell signal and that rescuers were actually able to access him in that area and get him out so quickly.”