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Shuswap Search and Rescue called when one of their own seriously injured

Volunteer mountain-biking above Larch Hills when he crashed
Mountain bike crash leads to rescue above Larch Hills on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. (File photo)

Shuswap Search and Rescue received one of the tougher calls they have to respond to on Sunday.

About 10:30 a.m. Sept. 18, one of their own volunteers was seriously injured in the Larch Hills.

Shuswap SAR spokesperson John Schut said their teammate was mountain biking above Larch Hills when he flipped over backwards on his mountain bike and broke one of his vertebrae.

“He was in a lot of pain,” Schut said.

Schut explained that a medic was on hand for a bike race in the Larch Hills area at that time. Other mountain bikers then went down to the Larch Hills cabin, got a stretcher and brought it back so the medic could package the injured man in it.

“We sent a team up to meet them and helped bring them down, but they pretty much did most of it on their own,” Schut said, noting SAR sent up a stretcher and a side-by-side to meet them but in the end they were not used.

It was close to 2 p.m. when the injured man was brought to the Larch Hills ski area. From there he was sent to Kamloops for surgery.

“It’s quite scary to be injured like that,” said Schut.

Regarding having a SAR member injured, Schut explained it makes the situation particularly intense.

“It does not happen that often, but we all understand it. We all play out in the back country. It amps things up for us when it’s one of our own members. Not that we wouldn’t respond quickly for anybody, but it certainly hits home a little bit when you see one of your own members in pain.”

The man has been volunteering with Shuswap Search and Rescue for about five years.

The BC Bike Race was the mountain bike race underway, with the Salmon Arm portion being 52 metres with a 2000-metre elevation gain that included the Larch Hills Traverse.

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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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