West Coast Trail hiker airlifted to hospital in Victoria with serious injuries

A hiker was airlifted to hospital in Victoria on Tuesday after suffering serious injuries on the West Coast Trail.

Rescuers aboard a Cormorant helicopter from 442 Squadron in Comox, B.C., extracted the hiker from the trail near Cullite Cove, approximately 14 kilometres west of Port Renfrew, according to Maritime Forces Pacific.

Parks Canada says it was notified of the injured hiker at approximately 1 p.m.

Parks staff worked with the rescuers and the Pacheedaht First Nation Guardians to extract the injured hiker and another member of the hiking party from the area, a spokesperson said Friday.

"The patient sustained serious injuries but was in stable condition," according to the federal agency.

The hiker was taken to Victoria General Hospital, where a witness reported on Facebook that she saw the hiker brought in with "a stick protruding from his eye socket."

The United States Coast Guard says it assisted with the rescue effort by refueling the Cormorant helicopter at the Port Angeles Air Station, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The rugged West Coast Trail attracts hikers from all over the world to the western edge of Vancouver Island. Hikers are required to book their dates on the trail sometimes months in advance. The trail opened for the 2022 hiking season on May 1.

The 75-kilometre trail is part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, operated by Parks Canada.

"The West Coast Trail is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is known for its gruelling conditions and natural beauty," the agency said in a statement.

"Safety is a shared responsibility. Hikers should wear sturdy footwear and use handholds or hiking poles, always being aware of slippery surfaces. By preparing visitors for the advanced conditions required to hike the West Coast Trail in advance, we strive for a safe and memorable experience for hikers."