SCOTT'S BAY, N.S. - A 38-year-old was rescued by a Cormorant helicopter and taken hospital after a hiking incident near Cape Split in the evening hours of Feb. 18.
Jeff Skaling, chief of the Canning Fire Department, said they received the call for aid just before 6 p.m.
“We were paged for a person injured at Amethyst Cove, which is a remote location on the north side of the Cape Split peninsula near Scott's Bay,” Skaling said. “We requested a boat from New Minas and we also paged the Kings County Rope Rescue Team because of the location.”
The Kings County Rope Rescue Team is made up of Canning, Kentville, New Minas and Waterville fire departments.
“We were the closest, so we went to the Cape Split parking lot, which is the closest access point to Amethyst Cove,” he said, adding that Amethyst Cove is across private property and not part of the provincial park.
“We made contact with a person who had been hiking with the individual, a 38-year-old female was injured on or very close to the beach near the cove,” he said. “We were unable to launch boats into the Minas Basin because of the pack ice.”
Skaling said they started to set up the rope team, and also requested, via the RCMP and EMO, a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from CFB Greenwood.
If the Cormorant had have been delayed, Skaling said they would have deployed the rope team, but the helicopter arrived on scene before that was necessary.
“We had some firefighters at the top of the cliff in the trail system and the Cormorant was able to get on scene and, fortunately, was able to retrieve the person and flew them back to (Canada Forces Camp) Aldershot near Kentville, where they basically handed her over to EHS,” he said.
The patient was loaded onto the helicopter at 7:50 p.m.
Skaling said he was unaware of the person’s injuries, other than it was a possible back injury and that she was unable to get to safety.
He said that the woman had been with a group of people who were hiking in the area and slipped on the ice near the bottom of the trail.
“We’re not sure how far they slid or fell, but they sustained injuries that prevented them from getting out,” he said. “Fortunately, this happened near the bottom, rather than close to the top.”
“It could have been worse,” he added.
Skaling said the amount of ice and the conditions along the trail made it very challenging for the first responders on scene.
“We’re very fortunate that the tides were out and that the Cormorant was able to land on the beach,” he said. “Where it’s not a public trail, there were also numerous trees down and our members on all-terrain vehicles had to cut numerous trees just to get access through there.”
Skaling said it’s a very challenging time of year to be hiking on trails like this, with some areas having dangerous ice conditions.
“People have to keep in mind that if they get injured it could be a very long time before they’re able to get rescued,” he said. “Always take a cell phone, always tell people where you’re going and dress appropriately for the weather.”