A man was airlifted to hospital Sunday, May 1 after sustaining “fairly serious injuries” in a rope swing accident near Cheakamus Crossing, according to Whistler Search and Rescue (WSAR).
The incident took place on a popular rope swing at Loggers Lake, where the individual “swung back and hit a tree, we think,” said WSAR manager Brad Sills. The man was immobile after suffering significant injuries to his chest. It required a long-line rescue to extricate the man to an air ambulance that was waiting at Cheakamus Crossing to transport him to Vancouver. Responders also ran into some challenges on the helicopter’s initial approach due to overhanging forest canopy, which delayed the rescue, Sills explained.
Sills was unaware of the man’s current condition.
Sunday’s accident marks the third time in the past year or so that rescuers have been called out to that particular swing, Sills noted.
“When you figure the cost of the air ambulance and the cost of the long line, I’ll leave it up to the citizens to determine if these are good venues or not,” he added.
This isn’t the first time a resident has been seriously injured while using a rope swing in the community. A 21-year-old Whistler man suffered significant head trauma while using a swing at Alpha Lake back in 2012.
The RMOW’s policy is to remove any swings installed on municipal property as they are reported. Rope swings have been removed from common recreation sites at Pine Point Park, Lost Lake and Blueberry Park in recent years.
Last June the municipality settled a claim over injuries caused by a rope swing that was installed at Meadow Park Sports Centre for an undisclosed amount. According to the claim, Vancouver’s Carol Crichton suffered injuries to her feet, ankles, hips and back while using the swing in 2011. The RMOW removed it in 2014, citing challenges with getting the swing certified by Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).
“Up until recently it was unclear that the rope swing required a specific permit beyond the overall facility permit from VCH,” a municipal spokesperson told Pique last June.
For more on this story, check Pique's print edition this Thursday.