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Yukon Quest musher calls for medical help, drops out of race

Jason Campeau of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, suffered a "medical issue" and had to be taken to Fairbanks by helicopter, race officials say.

Jason Campeau of Alberta was taken by helicopter to Fairbanks after suffering a 'medical issue'

Alberta musher Jason Campeau was on his way to the Dawson City checkpoint on Wednesday when he called for help. On Thursday, he was flown by helicopter to Fairbanks. (Julien Schroder/Yukon Quest)

Yukon Quest race officials say musher Jason Campeau has been withdrawn from the race, because of a "medical issue" that required him to be flown out by helicopter.

The Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, musher pressed the help button on his tracking device on Wednesday afternoon, about 72 kilometres from the Eagle checkpoint. He was en route to Dawson City.

Race marshal Doug Harris says help, including a nurse practitioner, was immediately sent out from Eagle to find Campeau. The musher was then taken to a nearby cabin where "they attended to him as best they could."

Harris says Alaska state police and U.S. military personnel then arranged for Campeau to be flown to Fairbanks by helicopter, on Thursday. He says it took almost 24 hours to get Campeau out because he was on one of the most remote parts of the trail.  

"It was darkness, it's been –52 to –55 in that area along where he was, and the remoteness of it in itself speaks for the difficulty of extracting somebody from that terrain," Harris said.

Race officials have not said what happened to Campeau. Harris said only that he'd heard the musher's condition was "stable". 

Campeau's wife, Jennifer Campeau, was also mushing in the Yukon Quest this year. On Thursday, she scratched from the race. 

Jason Campeau finished the Yukon Quest in 2015 and scratched from the race last year. He also competed in the Iditarod in 2015 and 2016. 

With files from Claudiane Samson

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