Pacific Rim National Park staff joined Ucluelet Volunteer Fire Brigade, B.C. Ambulance and Westcoast Inland Search and Rescue personel to evacuate a woman with a broken leg from Half Moon Bay during Thursday’s storm. (Photo - Westcoast Inland Search and Rescue)

Woman rescued after breaking leg on Vancouver Island beach during “very nasty” storm

“Trees were cracking around us.”

First responders rescued a woman who had broken her leg on an isolated beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve during Thursday’s storm.

The Ucluelet Volunteer Fire Brigade, Westcoast Insland Search and Rescue, B.C. Ambulance and Park Reserve personnel worked together to conduct the rescue around 10:30 a.m. at Half Moon Bay.

“We all had our hands on the stretcher, packing it up the stairs and rolling it along the trail and making sure she got all the way out to the ambulance,” Westcoast Inland Search and Rescue manager Garth Cameron told the Westerly News. “Trees were cracking around us. I heard some serious thumps. Branches were coming down as we were responding down the trails.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Local kids name rescue vehicles in Tofino and Ucluelet

Ucluelet Fire Chief Ted Eeftink noted the beach at Half Moon is isolated and rescuers had to navigate through about two kilometres of trail before reaching the roughly 150 steep wooden steps leading down to the beach.

“It’s a pretty big task to get a person mobilized in a stretcher and then get her up to the top of the stairs,” he said adding the weather conditions at the time were “very nasty.”

“Trees were breaking off in the forest, limbs were coming down…I could hear them snapping off, it was like a rifle going off,” he said, adding rescuers needed a power saw to get back out. “They had a couple trees come down on the trail and they had to cut them out of the way to get back out of the trail. It wasn’t a super easy rescue, that’s for sure.”

READ MORE: Ucluelet Volunteer Fire Brigade calls for new recruits

He added that he was impressed by how the different agencies worked together.

“They worked as a very collaborative group. Things just went along so nice and smooth,” he said.

“Everybody feels good,” Cameron said. “It’s what we always want: a successful ending, getting somebody out safely.”

It remains unclear how the woman’s injury occurred, though a post on CoastSmart’s Facebook page suggested it was caused by logs being tossed around the beach by strong tides.

READ MORE: Incoming storm prompts extreme wave advisory at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve officially closed all of its beaches around 11 a.m. Thursday and announced that all trails, beaches and parking lots were closed at 2 p.m. Thursday.

The Park Reserve’s Promotion Officer Crystal Bolduc told the Westerly News on Friday night that all closures remained in effect.

“Our visitor safety crew is monitoring the situation throughout the weekend and will open the areas up if we feel it is safe,” she said. “People should heed the closures.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Vancouver Island’s Long Beach named one of world’s best



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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