Nfld. & Labrador

MHA questions search response for injured snowmobiler

A weekend incident involved a snowmobiler who dislocated his hip has raised new questions about search and rescue services, an MHA says.

A weekend incident involved a snowmobiler who dislocated his hip in the back country in northern Newfoundland has raised new questions about search and rescue services, an MHA says.

The Flower's Cove man, who was injured on Sunday, was taken on a toboggan for more than 30 kilometres to an ambulance.

With high winds and snow, the weather was too poor for a search and rescue helicopter to fly - although Chris Mitchelmore, the NDP representative for The Straits-White Bay North, has questioned whether more could have been done.

"The response that the weather was bad [and] they couldn't deploy the helicopters - well, are there better helicopters out there?  Because, normally during search and rescue of a medical emergency, the weather is not going to be a sunny day," Mitchelmore told CBC News.

The snowmobiler is in hospital and recovering.

Mitchelmore said he has written letters to the provincial health and transportation departments about the incident.

Hank Diamond, the volunteer fire chief in Flower's Cove, said the response was a challenge, and that temperatures were very cold for the patient and the medic who accompanied him during their journey to safety.

"The paramedic, when he got on scene, did his full assessment of the patient," he said. "We requested the search and rescue [but] due to the inclement weather had to come up with a plan B."

Public attention to search and rescue services has been raised in recent weeks, amid the uproar of the death of Makkovik teenager Burton Winters, who froze to death after his snowmobile got stuck outside his community. A search and rescue helicopter did not join the search for him for two days.

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