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Injured hiker and dog rescued from Mount Arrowsmith

One rescue turns into two for Alberni Valley Rescue Squad

A call for a rescue at Mt. Arrowsmith turned into two for volunteers with Alberni Valley Rescue Squad over the weekend after an injured hiker’s dog fled the scene.

At 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 6 crews with AVRS received a call about a hiker who had fallen approximately 10 feet while hiking Mt. Arrowsmith and was injured. Fortunately the hiker had cell reception and was able to “ping” their location for rescuers.

Two different teams of volunteer searchers were dispatched from two separate locations, an AVRS spokesperson said. “The first team was able to locate and reach the subject who was off trail and located between the Climbers Trail and Judge’s Route.”

The second team was redirected to stand by, and mutual aid was requested. By this time it was dark and North Shore Rescue’s night hoist team was called from Vancouver to assist in the rescue. The Mt. Arrowsmith hiker was airlifted to Nanaimo Airport and transported by ambulance to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Details of their injuries were not released.

Searchers said the hiker was found with emergency supplies, food and extra clothing, however, they were unfamiliar with the trail and feeling pressure to hurry due to dwindling daylight when the incident occurred. Winter conditions remain on the mountain even though snowpack is scant, and temperatures are still cold at night.

While the hiker was being airlifted to receive further medical care, volunteers searched in vain for Izzy, the hiker’s five-year-old border collie, who fled before the search and rescue teams arrived. Once the hiker was stabilized, searchers made the difficult decision to leave Izzy.

Volunteer Rory Ford, who had been out Saturday night, returned Sunday morning on his own time to search for the missing dog. He spotted the dog “a significant distance” from where her owner was injured and was able to coax her out of hiding and into his truck.

Ford later said that he found the dog by going back to the rescue site and tracing back the subject’s tracks. He heard barking and spent an hour coaxing Izzy from her rocky spot. “He put the dog on his shoulders and made his way down (to his truck),” an AVRS spokesperson said.

Ford was in touch with Izzy’s owner and made plans to reunite the two.