Traverse City aircrew called in to rescue injured snowmobiler in Canada

TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. - A helicopter crew from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City were needed to rescue an injured snowmobiler from a remote area in southern Canada on Saturday.

Because of the nature of the injuries and close proximity to the U.S. border, Canada's Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Trenton, Ontario requested assistant from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The rescue crew from the Traverse City Air Station was launched at 6:45 p.m. after a fuel stop at Sault Ste. Marie Ontario Airport. The crew reached the snowmobiler, who was suffering from life-threatening injuries, by 10 p.m.

He was located in a remote, heavily wooded area near Chapleau, Ontario, and covered in waist deep snow. According to the U.S. Coast Gaurd, he was traveling alone when he was hurt. Another group of snowmobilers found him -- some left to call for help at a lodge several miles away, while other built a fire to keep him warm.

Despite the deep snow, steep slope and winds more than 25 miles per house, a Coast Guard crew member was lowered from the helicopter to rescue the snowmobiler. He was transported to Sault Ste. Marie Airport in Ontario and then moved to a nearby hospital for further treatment. 

The snowmobiler's name and hometown are not being released and due to the nature of his injuries, the Coast Guard did not provide photos.

Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City operates four helicopters for search and rescue operations for Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Huron and the surrounding Great Lakes region.

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April Stevens is a multi-platform producer at WZZM 13. Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

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