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Tech and Teamwork: Sunshine Coast SAR assist injured mountain biker

Teams navigated steep terrain to rescue and transport an injured mountain biker to emergency services

Volunteers at Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue (SAR) were again in the wilds last weekend when they assisted in getting an injured mountain biker out of the trail network near Coast Gravity Park.

Alec Tebbutt of Sunshine Coast SAR said they received the callout at approximately 1 p.m. to assist BC Emergency Health Services, who were already on scene with the injured mountain biker in the park. 

Because of the equipment needed and the steep terrain they had to cover, 12 SAR members set out to assist. As a safety precaution, crews utilized belay lines from above to move the stretcher along with additional support. 

“One team runs the safety line and as the stretcher gets to the end of the line, another team has set up a second safety line further down that it hooks onto,” Tebbutt said. 

Using this system, crews transported the injured mountain biker to the nearest vehicle-accessible area, where SAR trucks were waiting to take them to the ambulance.

Once the injured mountain biker was transferred to the ambulance, they were taken to the hospital. 

“It's lovely when things just go fairly smoothly,” Tebbutt said. 

One piece of technology SAR utilizes when sending teams out is CalTopo, which Tebbutt explained lets him map and keep track of everybody in the field. 

He said that most SAR teams in the Lower Mainland and Lower Vancouver Island use it, “It's really a wonderful thing.”

Not only SAR crews use CalTopo – Tebbutt explained the app is available to anybody and added, it has also helped him talk lost people out of the forest by tracking and directing them. 

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.