On Aug. 18 in the late afternoon, a medical helicopter made a landing in the middle of the track and field at Lakes District Secondary School to pick up a patient.
According to Sarah Morris, a spokesperson from B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS), the patient was evacuated at approximately 4:30 P.M. The reason for the medical evacuation was because the patient was in critical condition, and required expedient transport by critical care paramedics to a higher level of care hospital.
The landing spot of the helicopter was peculiar, as there is a helicopter pad in Burns Lake owned by Westland Helicopter, located on Isaac Sam Drive on the Ts’il Kaz Koz reserve. There is also the Baker Airport past Decker Lake on Hwy. 16 as a potential landing spot. Morris said that there was no issues with the pad, and it was her understanding that the field at LDSS was chosen as a landing spot because it is several minutes closer to the hospital.
Director of Protective Services at Burns Lake Fire Rescue Robert Krause was present at the evacuation to help with coordination, and told Lakes District News that to the best of his knowledge this was the first time a BCEHS helicopter was dispatched to Burns Lake, and that it is not a regular occurrence for helicopters to land in the LDSS track.
Lakes District News also spoke to School District 91 Assistant Superintendent Mike Skinner who was also unaware of another time a landing has been made at LDSS or any other in Burns Lake. “This is the first occurrence that I am aware that a medical evacuation helicopter has had to land in town. The air ambulance plane is the regular way people are evacuated to larger cities for treatment. I assume the medical emergency was very urgent that a helicopter was needed, and we hope the patient is recovering,” he said.