Nova Scotia

How this teen and his dog saved the life of an 89-year-old man

Lloyd Stone was lying with a broken hip in the freezing dark after he fell while cross-country skiing in March in rural Cape Breton. He was losing hope, until he saw a light and felt a dog licking his face.

'They tell me I was hypothermic, says Lloyd Stone, who fell and broke his hip while skiing alone

Calvin Kuchta pets his dog, Arik. (Bonni Kuchta)

An 89-year-old Baddeck, N.S., man who broke his hip in a skiing accident this winter is grateful to the observant teenager and his dog who saved his life.

As he continues to recover from his injuries in hospital, Lloyd Stone is telling the story of what happened to him March 3 and why he calls the teen who came to his aid a "hero."

Stone remembers it was starting to get dark as he was returning from an afternoon of cross-country skiing near Big Baddeck Road.

"I hit some ice and slipped and fell on my backside," he says. The excruciating pain from what a doctor later said was a "crushed hip" made it impossible for him to get up.

"I was on my back and I tried to push myself along a bit with my good leg to work myself out to the highway." Stone says he was "getting pretty tired, pretty cold. Not giving up but losing hope."

Then, after about three hours of struggling in the dark, he saw a light.

'I figured it was kind of weird'

That light was a flashlight carried by Calvin Kuchta. The 17 year old was driving home around 8 p.m. when he noticed a car parked near the ski trail. He knew it belonged to Stone and he was concerned.

"Knowing that Lloyd cross-country skiied and it was dark out, I figured it was kind of weird," said Kuchta.

He resolved right away to go home and return with his dog, Arik, a retired RCMP dog. In a hurry, he couldn't find a leash so he tied a jump rope around Arik's collar and headed back to see if they could find Stone.

"I pointed to the trail, and said, 'Track it.' That's when he started sniffing and he took off."

A short time later, flat on his back, Stone spotted the teenager's flashlight and called out for help. Arik reacted quickly.

"He snapped the jumping rope and took off running," Kuchta says.

"The dog came up to me before Calvin did and was licking my face, which was quite nice," says Stone.

'They tell me I was hypothermic'

Arik is a retired RCMP dog. Kuchta's father is an RCMP officer. (Bonni Kuchta)

Kuchta called 911 and did what he could to make Stone comfortable.

"His pants were rolled up so his bare leg was on the snow. So I took off my jacket and wrapped it around his leg."

Kuchta's father, Curtis, an RCMP officer, had arrived by this time and attended to Stone while the teenager went to meet the ambulance.

"They tell me I was hypothermic. I know I was pretty cold," says Stone, who remains in hospital in Baddeck recovering from his injuries.

'He's my hero'

He will always be thankful to the young man who came to his rescue, and who regularly visits him.

"He's my hero."

Stone, who is regaining his mobility, has graduated to a walker and is planning to return to an active, but scaled-down lifestyle.

"I think I'll give up skiing and take up something safer, like snowshoeing," he says.

With files from Information Morning