STARS airlifts injured snowmobiler after collision in bitter cold weather near Pinawa – Manitoba

The bitter cold meant time was a critical factor after a snowmobiler crashed on Rice Lake north of Pinawa, Man., on Friday afternoon. That’s why STARS Air Ambulance was called, the local fire chief says.

A call came into the Bird River Fire Department just after 3 p.m. that a man was injured after two snowmobiles crashed on the lake, about 130 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

According to Environment Canada’s Pinawa station, at the time of the crash it would have felt like -35 with the windchill. 

One of the firefighters jumped on a snowmobile and headed out to the site with his cellphone, said fire chief Mac Kinghorn.

“When it’s cold like it is, when you are moving it’s one thing but when you are laying on the ground in the snow, it starts to suck the heat of you regardless of how good your snowmobile gear is,” Kingorn said.

The trails to the spot weren’t groomed, light was fading and the temperature was dropping, so STARS air ambulance was called in to make sure the injured man would get off the ice and to the hospital. 

Especially when it’s so cold out, hypothermia, frost bite and frozen tissue can quickly start adding to the original injuries, Kingorn said.

The helicopter landed about 50 metres from the shore line and, along with the local firefighter, the pilots, a nurse and paramedic transported the man using a special medical toboggan.

The snowmobiler was brought to hospital in Winnipeg and there is no word on how they are doing. 

Kinghorn said it’s not the first time that they’ve had to call STARS air ambulance to the remote location in the past few years.

The area is a popular spot and snowmobilers need to be prepared before they head out, Kinghorn said.  

“Tell somebody where you are going, how long you are going to be gone … drive responsibly, don’t drink and drive,” he said.

People should dress appropriately and bring a cell phone or some way to contact emergency services. Drivers should also check out Snoman, a…

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