Choppers rescue quad driver west of Sundre

Two helicopters were needed to rescue a seriously injured quad driver from a remote area west of Sundre and get him to hospital late Thursday afternoon.

Two helicopters were needed to rescue a seriously injured quad driver from a remote area west of Sundre and get him to hospital late Thursday afternoon.

Kananaskis Public Safety used a helicopter to airlift a 56-year-old man out of the forest to a nearby ground ambulance that drove him a short distance where STARS air ambulance could land to fly him to Foothills Hospital in Calgary.

Sundre RCMP Cpl. Ryan Hodge said the man’s quad rolled and landed on top of him while he was driving down steep terrain. He was conscious and in stable condition when transported.

Hodge said the man was among a group of seven experienced off-highway vehicle operators, from the Calgary to Three Hills area, who were equipped with a satellite telephone and GPS units to contact emergency services and provide their location.

“We see it every year that people aren’t properly equipped, whether it’s an emergency first aid kit, or survival equipment to last a night, or just some kind of communication device. People assume their cell phones will work out here and they don’t in a lot of spots,” Hodge said on Friday.

The group called police at about 3 p.m. Responders drove their vehicles for about an hour, then it took another hour for police and rescue workers using quads to reach the group near Pine Needle Creek, about 80 km west of Sundre.

Sundre RCMP co-ordinated the rescue, along with members of Sundre Fire and Rescue, Kananaskis Public Safety, Alpine Helicopters, Sundre Search and Rescue, Alberta Health Services and STARS Air Ambulance.

Hodge said the area is basically a remote forestry cut block where only experienced off-road operators go, including this group.

It was the first big rescue of the season in the area where such elaborate rescues are not the norm, he added.

“Kananaskis Public Safety does this kind of thing all the time throughout Alberta, but it’s a first for the Sundre area this year and actually the last couple of years.”

Hodge said so far this summer there’s been the usual number of horseback riders and off-road vehicle operators visiting the area who have experienced minor incidents.

“We hear of quad collisions and ATV collisions all the time, getting bucked off horses. There’s a bit of a risk going into those activities.”

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