August 2016 - Forestry consultant seriously injured in Mountain Pine Beetle stand

A forestry consultant was struck by a falling tree while flagging a proposed road location in a stand dominated by dead, beetle killed pine. The worker was airlifted to hospital where it was determined that he had spinal, pelvic and shoulder fractures along with several broken bones in his foot.

On the morning of July 9th the worker and his co-worker entered the block to start locating roads and boundaries. The air was calm, with no significant breeze at any time. At approximately 9:10 am, the worker was flagging his proposed road location when he heard a tree “crack”. He knew it was close but could not identify its location so he attempted to hunker down beside a larger tree for protection. A deadfall pine, approximately 40cm in diameter (DBH), caught him in the back and pinned him to the ground, knocking his hard hat off and his radio out of his vest pocket. He knew he was hurt and needed to call for help so he scrambled out from underneath the tree, retrieved his radio, and called his co-worker for assistance.

The co-worker was approximately 500m away. He proceeded to the injured workers location, and stabilized the worker. He then departed to the pickup where the satellite phone was located.

The co-worker reached the pickup and contacted the company’s main office approximately 10:00 am. At this time BC Ambulance was contacted and paramedics and the local search and rescue group were dispatched to the site. The injured worker was eventually long-lined out of the woods by the 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, at approximately 8:40pm, and transported to hospital.

The total elapsed time from contact with BC Ambulance to arrival at the hospital was over 11 hours. The complications of remote location, serious injury, and the hazards associated with operating rotary wing aircraft in close proximity to dead pine stands are extremely significant and contributed to the extended evacuation time for this incident.

Mountain Pine Beetle Stands

Emergency Medical Evacuation



Additional Safety Resources:

  1. Emergency Response Video from WorkSafeBC
  2. Emergency response planning: 12 tips for an effective emergency response plan https://www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/health-safety/books-guides/emergency-response-planning-12-tips?lang=en
  3. PDF Print version of this safety alert


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